World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin recorded the quickest time on the opening stage time trial at the Tour de Suisse. The German stopped the clock at 13’48 over the technical, undulating 9.4 kilometre course in Bellinzona. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) slotted into second place, six seconds slower than Martin, while Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) rounded out the stage one podium.
The first starter for ORICA-GreenEDGE on Saturday was also the top finisher. Michael Albasini finished 46” off Martin’s time, good for 40th place. Simon Clarke, Cameron Meyer and Nino Schurter also finished in the first third of the field with Clarke in 48th place, Meyer in 50th place and Schurter in 58th place.
COMMENTS FROM SPORT DIRECTOR NEIL STEPHENS
We went into the time trial today with no great expectations. Cameron Meyer and Esteban Chaves foster potential general classification ambitions, so they both wanted to put in the best possible ride. In saying that, they both understand that our main goal here is to pull off a stage result. We’ll see how things go day to day in terms of the overall.
The boys all got through the day pretty well unscathed despite the dramatic incident that many fans saw on television with Sam Bewley. Sam started one minute in front of Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), and the cameras were on Cancellara for his entire ride.
Cancellara caught Sam just before the decent, so they went downhill with only a bit of a separation. Sam overcooked it in a corner and went straight into a barrier. He managed to stay upright, which was quite the feat, but he had blown out his front tire when he hit the barrier. He didn’t realise it right away, so when he got going again, he went down – but at only three or four kilometres per hour.
We expect tomorrow to be an aggressive stage. The profile is quite lumpy. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step will want to control, but a lot of other teams will look to roll the dice and see what they can do. I tend to think that style of racing suits us.