Brit Stephen Williams wins the fantastic Tour opener around Küsnacht ZH. In the sprint of the 15-strong leading group, he overpowered all the favourites. The Swiss were unable to meet the high expectations.
The beaming winner of the starting stage Stephen Williams said, “I’m just as surprised as everyone else” . However, he adds that he thought he had a chance to win the stage: “I knew I could stay with the group. At the end I was slightly trapped but managed to find a gap and sprint to victory.” The Swiss had a slow start on the first day of the Tour, which took the riders four times around the Küsnacht circuit. Gino Mäder, a hot favourite to win the Tour, was dropped on the final climb losing 51 seconds. Marc Hirschi, who had set himself the goal of winning the stage, had to settle for 4th place. Stefan Küng managed to finish in 7th place.
Tour stars taking the lead
The race started according to plan. After a few kilometres, a seven-man leading group broke away. Among them were two Swiss riders, Simon Vitzthum (Swiss Cycling) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar Team). At best they led the peloton by four minutes but at the beginning of the last lap they were caught. On the final climb, the Küsnachter Berg, it became a battle between the mountain and classic specialists. The Belgian Remco Evenepoel attacked several times but could not break away. Eventually the 15-man leading group sprinted to the line with the British rider Stephen Williams victorious.
Preview of the next Stage
Stage 2 heads across the Central Plateau from Küsnacht ZH via Kloten, Brugg, Liestal to the finish in Aesch BL. “The stage runs practically through my training ground,” says Silvan Dillier, who should feel at home with this hilly stage. After an undulating start, three KOMs await the cyclists. The last climb is 14 kilometres before the finish.