Aqua Blue Sport has taken its first victory with a heroic lone attack into the high Swiss mountains.
The day began in the historic city of Bern and traveled across a mostly flat first half of the race in the direction of the high mountain Villars-sur-Ollon.
During the morning meeting it was clear that the day would be targeted by Larry Warbasse as Nicki Sorensen put in place a plan to capitalise on the American’s good form. Warbasse broke away after 15 kilometres with three other riders and they were given some rope to gather an advance that reached to more than seven minutes.
As the final climb of 11.1 steep kilometres loomed in the distance Warbasse burst away from his breakaway companions. He cut a lone, determined figure as he battled against gravity and the peloton.
Within the final kilometre they whittled down the lead to just under one minute but the gifted climber realised the day was his and gave one last surge to the line. He crossed the line, arms raised in triumph and collapsed into the arms of the Aqua Blue Sport soigneur.
Delight filled the air as Warbasse was cheered by other finishing riders and the thousands of fans on the climb.
Warbasse wept as he said:
“It’s my first victory in my career – it’s amazing I love this race, I love Switzerland. I was on IAM Cycling the last two years, and it’s one of the most beautiful countries and I have so many great memories here. Today I felt like it was my home race. I’ve never had so many people cheering for me, everyone was yelling my name. I’m really happy. As soon as I got in the breakaway, I knew – I told everyone yesterday, I worked really hard the whole last season – I always give 110 per cent, I’m just so happy it finally paid off.”
Team owner Rick Delaney was in the team car and witnessed first hand Warbasse’s victory.
“We started in January and the goal was to get race starts and then the objective was to perform as best we could in as many prestigious races as we could. “Firstly to be invited to the Tour de Suisse was a great honour and as the week started we took the mountains jersey with Lasse. We have been in almost every break in every race we have started but to get one to stick on a day like today on a climb like today. For Larry it is an amazing moment to take his first win. His focus and determination and phenomenal work ethic – he had clear emotion today and it was magnificent to be there to share it with him.”