Rohan Dennis claimed the first yellow jersey of the Tour de Suisse after an impressive show of strength saw him secure victory on the prologue ahead of BMC Racing Team teammate, Stefan Küng.
As Dennis flew off the ramp he was chasing the early benchmark set by Ryan Mullen (Cannondale – Drapac Pro Cycling Team) of 6’37” and out on the course, he didn’t hold anything back.
The current Australian national time trial champion showed why he is known as one of the best time trialists in the world when he crossed the line in time of 6’24” to secure the stage win and the leader’s yellow jersey.
With Dennis in the hot seat, Küng was the penultimate rider to start his 6km effort and he demonstrated his time trialling prowess by crossing the line eight seconds back to finish second on the opening day of racing in Switzerland.
Martin Elmiger, who was racing in his hometown of Cham, also put in a solid performance and stopped the clock at 6’38” to finish tenth.
The Winner’s Interview with Rohan Dennis
Congratulations, Rohan. This is your first race back after the Giro d’Italia, how are you feeling after today’s win?
“To be leading the race in my first race back, especially a UCI WorldTour race, is quite special. I’ve been struggling a bit in training since I had to pull out of the Giro d’Italia but I think today was just my day.”
“I was a little bit mentally knocked down after the Giro d’Italia. It was a massive goal for me this year. I put a lot of work into it, even from July last year, or August after the Rio Olympics. In the end, things like that happen. I had to move on and try to rebuild. Training hasn’t been going too well so today was a little bit of a surprise. Once you get out there you do what you have to do and hope for the best.”
When you were sat in the hot seat, did you think you had done enough to win?
“I actually thought that Stefan Kung would probably beat me. Obviously it’s his home country so it would have been nice for him to win but he’s got more time than me, he’s younger and he’s a huge talent. I think in a couple of years he might have the victory over me so I will take it while I can.”
“A one and two for BMC Racing Team is always good. My first goal for this week was the prologue and the final time trial just to see where I am at and try and have fun during the week. I just want to get into the swing of things and Damiano Caruso is our leader here.”
And looking ahead to tomorrow?
“Stage 2 is a lot harder than it looks on paper. The guys were saying last time they did this circuit that there were 50 or so guys at the finish. But I’ll see how my legs are. I’m good over a six to ten minute effort but I haven’t really even looked at tomorrow’s stage too seriously. I might be really bad or I might be good and be able to keep the jersey. I have nine seconds over Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and he’s a good sprinter. I think it’s ten seconds on the line so if he wins and I’m in the peloton, I’ll lose it. It might be a day, or two or three.”
“We’re here for Damiano Caruso, he’s our GC guy. I’m not here with GC on my mind. I’m here to have some fun and see how it goes in between the two time trials.”
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It is always nice to race here. This is my home race so it is always special for me. It was a good race for me today but it wasn’t the perfect one so, congratulations to Rohan Dennis. As a team we can be really proud. We have our roots in Switzerland so to perform this well is incredible. With BMC Switzerland, ASSOS and TAG Heuer, we are really connected to Switzerland and it is always good to perform well on home soil. For me, it is really home and that is something even more special.”
“It was a nice race. It goes so fast. I tried to enjoy it but it hurt too much. I am happy with how I was riding today. It was a totally different kind of race today for me. When you race at home, you think less