Jun 13, 2024

Torstein Traeen wins atop Gotthard Pass

After a muted start Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS headed into stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse with big ambitions. After all a special #rideforGino bonus was waiting for the first rider to reach the highest point of this year’s race. Torstein Traeen made it into the breakaway of the day and made good use of the long climb to the summit of the Gotthard Pass to ride away from all of his co-attackers and celebrate a solo stage win. Phil Bauhaus sprinted to a 3rd place on the same day in the opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia.

The 87th edition of the Tour de Suisse is far from a normal race for Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS. One year ago Gino Mäder suffered a terrible crash on the descent from the Albula Pass and died from the serious injuries he had suffered the next day. For this reason, a special #rideforGino bonus was offered at the highest categorised climb of the stage race. With Wout Poels, Damiano Caruso, Torstein Traeen and Finlay Pickering the team brought four strong climbers to the Tour de Suisse. Andrea Pasqualon was called up for sprints of a reduced peloton and Johan Price-Pejtersen and Fran Miholjevic were the big engines to up the pace in the flat. At the end of the flat prologue ridden in Vaduz, Price-Pejtersen was the team's best-placed rider in 15th, but as for the next two hilly stages, the team could not score any noteworthy results.

Due to too much snow still lying in the Alps the Queen's stage had to be shortened massively, so the Gotthard Pass became the highest categorised climb of the Tour de Suisse, waiting at the end of stage 4. Before the start sports director Roman Kreuziger made clear that the riders of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS went into this stage with serious ambitions to honour their late colleague Gino Mäder. And guess what? Torstein Traeen, who had lost a lot of time throughout the initial three stages made it into the eight-rider breakaway that amassed a maximum advantage of 6.30 minutes. But for the final 40 kilometres, the roads only pointed uphill, first passing the Schöllenen ravine and then continuing to the summit of the Gotthard Pass. After a couple of accelerations, Torstein Traeen had only Swiss riders Roland Thalmann, and Silvan Dillier left for company - and he was going for that stage win.

Once Silvan Dillier had been dropped, Torstein Traeen went back to the team car to fetch a last bottle of water and have a short chat with Roman Kreuziger. Right after, the Norwegian attacked with 10 kilometres to go and got away. He quickly put a seizable gap into his last companion, but on the last kilometres his lead over the contenders for the general classification was shrinking quickly. It was Adam Yates in particular who got threateningly close to Traeen, but in the end, the Norwegian of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS managed to win the #rideforGino bonus and stayed away to cross the finish line atop the Gotthard Pass as solo winner. "Once the breakaway had formed I realised that I was likely the best climber of the group, and my legs felt really good today. Being able to win this particular stage is a very emotional thing - both for me and for the entire Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS," Torstein Traeen said after the stage.

The five-stage Tour of Slovenia started on the same Wednesday, and the line-up of Team BAHRAIN VICTRIOUS for this race is incredibly strong. Pello Bilbao and Matej Mohoric are the two GC captains, and Phil Bauhaus can rely on the support of Nikias Arndt and Matevz Govekar as lead-out men for bunch sprints. Nicolo Buratti and Edoardo Zambanini take up the last two spots for performance support duties. While the fight for the GC will likely be decided in stage 4, everybody was expecting a bunch sprint, at the end of the opening stage. And indeed, after more than 200 kilometres the fast men were fighting for the stage win in Ormoz. Trailing Dylan Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff, Phil Bauhaus crossed the finish line in 3rd and thus scored the first podium result for the team at this race.  


1. Torstein Traeen, NOR/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 4:10.21 hours
2. Adam Yates, GBR, + 0.23
3. Mattias Skjelmose, DEN, + 0.48

1. Dylan Groenewegen, NED, in 4:35.00 hours
2. Alexander Kristoff, NOR, st