With his late start and the 2nd stage place in Flumserberg/Tannenheim Egon Bernal (COL/INS) took over the leader jersey. The 22-year-old Colombian is considered one of the greatest talents in professional cycling.
“I waited for the best moment for my attack in the main group. My legs hurt, but I knew that I had to take my chance,” said Bernal, who is only the third Colombian in the history of the Swiss National Tour to wear the leader’s jersey. In 2016 Bernal’s compatriot Miguel Angel Lopez had won the overall standings, in 2011 Juan Mauricio Soler had taken over the yellow bodice for one day.
For Bernal, it was also a matter of seizing another opportunity. After Geraint Thomas’s retirement due to a crash in the 4th stage, Bernal is the rider for the overall ranking in Team Ineos. “We have some tough stages to cover before Sunday. My helpers and I will try everything to defend my leader jersey,” said Bernal, who won the long-distance Paris – Nice race in March and who has only 29 race days in his legs this season.
With Antwan Tolhoek (NED/TJV), an outsider who hardly anyone had on the list prevailed at the first mountain arrival of the tour. The mountain king of the Tour de Suisse of 2016 belonged to a large escape group of 25 riders that had formed before the ascent to Ricken. In the 8.5 km final climb to the finish in Tannenheim, the Dutchman always rode his kick and took the lead at the right moment.
But on the last 1000 m it was getting tight for Tolhoek, because Bernal was approaching at high speed. “Bernal had beaten me at the end of a similar stage in the Tour of California last year. Now I’m happy that I was able to celebrate my first professional victory,” Tolhoek said happily. Within his Jumbo-Visma team, it was agreed that the son of former pro Patrick Tolhoek should take every opportunity to go for a stage success because of his climbing skills – mission accomplished!