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06/13/2015

Tom Dumoulin wins fast prologue

The opening stage of Tour de Suisse 2015 produced a great fight against the clock. Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin turned out to be the fastest man on the 5.1 km course in Risch-Rotkreuz.

Starting out in sunshine and high temperatures, it didn’t take long before the first top time of the day was set by IAM Cycling’s Matthias Brändle. The Austrian crossed the finishing line in 5:45 minutes, which was one second ahead of Greg Van Avermaet of BMC.

On a very fast course, many riders matched Brändle’s split time after 2.1 km. However, it took a long time before anyone came close to beating him at the finish. The current road race world champion, Michal Kwiatkowski, who was one of the top favorites for today’s prologue, didn’t manage to live up to the expectations. He finished in 6:02 minutes.

After spending more than one and a half hours in the hot seat, Brändle had to see his time beaten by Fabian Cancellara who blasted through the course in 5:43 minutes. Despite recently suffering from a throat infection, Cancellara proved to be in great shape for his home race. The Swiss time machine has won the prologue of Tour de Suisse five times in the past. His first win came back in 2003. Unfortunately, for Cancellara, today’s time wasn’t fast enough to give him a sixth prologue win.

Tom Dumoulin came to the race fresh off an altitude training camp with his team in Sierra Nevada. He hadn’t been racing for six weeks. Still, the Dutch time trial champion had no problems setting a new best time when he crossed the line in 5:41 minutes. Of the remaining favorites for the stage win, only Peter Sagan had still to finish. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider had recently won a short time trial in Tour of California. Today however, Sagan didn’t manage to make it onto the podium. He came close but at the end, the Slovakian had to settle for fourth place, five seconds behind Dumoulin.

A dramatic moment occurred when Silvian Dillier crashed just before the intermediate time check. Luckily, the young Swiss rider was able to continue and finish the stage. The crash ruined any chance Dillier had to fight for the stage win, though.

Today’s victory is Tom Dumoulin’s second time trial triumph in 2015 after winning in Vuelta al Pais Vasco two months ago. Last year, Dumoulin finished second in the opening prologue of Tour de Suisse. The Dutchman will now be looking forward to continuing his winning streak against the clock in the Tour de France, which starts out in his home country next month.

On Sunday, Tour de Suisse continues with an undulating stage around Risch-Rotkreuz. The steep category 1 climb Michaelskreuz is covered twice. On the last lap, there are just over 12 km to go from the top of the climb. The riders targeting the general classification will have to stay alert in order to not lose any time.

 

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