Rohan Dennis gets a monkey off his back
This year’s edition of the Tour de Suisse features not one but two individual time trials. In the opening stage, Rohan Dennis managed to get a monkey off his back by winning his first individual time trial since his victory at the World Championships. Meanwhile at the Critérium du Dauphin: Dylan Teuns stubbornly defends his top10 position in the overall standings.
With tow mountaintop finishes, a very tough final stage in the mountains, one short and one medium-length individual time trial and some hilly stages, the 83rd edition of the Tour de Suisse offers a well-balanced mix. As for the overall standings, the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM focusses on Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo who has shown strong performances in Switzerland in the past. Rohan Dennis is expected to show his class in the two individual time trials, and Ivan Cortina and Matej Mohoric are free to chase a stage win. The ever-so-important supporting roles at the Tour de Suisse are taken by the likes of Valerio Agnoli, Andrea Garosio and Antonio Nibali. The hot topic before the opening individual time trial around the town of Langnau in Emmental was the weather forecast, however. It expected a storm front to move in in the afternoon, but nobody could say when it would hit the race.
Due to this weather forecast, the sports directors of the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM decided to send Rohan Dennis on course as early as a quarter past three in the afternoon - as the second rider of the team. At that time the roads in the Emmental were still dry, the sun was shining and riders faced a headwind on the way to the turning point and got to enjoy a tailwind on their way back to the finish. At first Rohan Dennis set a new best intermediate time, but that was beaten by Stefan Küng by almost five seconds. On his way back to the finish Rohan Dennis gave it his all and managed to turn the tables. While he managed to distance the Swiss rider, the fight for the stage win was a narrow one as Maciej Bodnar only conceded a scant 0,15 seconds to Dennis’ time. The latter had to wait in the hot seat for a long time before his first win in an individual time trial wearing the rainbow jersey and riding MERIDA BIKES’ TIME-WARP TT was a certainty.
At the Critérium du Dauphiné Dylan Teuns the yellow leader’s jersey on the fourth day in the individual time trial. But the Belgian rider punched way above his weight category, only losing one place and slotting into 2nd in the overall standings after the time trial. But there were still three tough stages to go. On Friday the early attackers got to fight for the stage win while the overall contenders were marking each other closely. On Saturday another large attack group formed early on, but this group never got a larger advantage than four minutes. For most of the stage and far into the final ascent Dylan Teuns could rely on the support of his BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM mate Hermann Pernsteiner. On the final ascent, the weather conditions were abysmal, but Teuns managed to stay with the other overall contenders until the three-kilometres-to-go banner. A series of attacks made him lose contact, but he only conceded 30 seconds to the stage winner and is still positioned in 6th in the overall standings before tomorrow’s conclusive stage.
83RD TOUR DE SUISSE, STAGE 1: LANGNAU - LANGNAU, 9.5KM
1. Rohan Dennis, AUS/BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, in 10.50 minutes
2. Maciej Bodnar, POL, + 0.00,15
3. Michael Matthews, AUS, + 0.01