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"I had a look at this stage before, a week ago. I knew it could be something for me. I like this kind of awful weather - rain and a little bit cold. I gave it a shot and in the end it turned out well."

Photo: ©Tim De Waele/TDW Sport




01.05.2015 @ 21:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

 BMC Racing Team's Stefan Küng impressively soloed to victory on a rain-soaked stage of the Tour de Romandie Friday.

The reigning world individual pursuit champion attacked out of a four-man breakaway with 30 kilometers to go in the 169.8-km race. He won for the second time this season ahead of two of his fellow escapees, runner-up Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale) and third-placed Bert-Jan Lindeman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo). They arrived 38 and 39 seconds after Küng coasted home to the cheers of a partisan crowd in the home country of the team's title sponsor, BMC Switzerland.

"To win my first WorldTour race in Switzerland, with such a great crowd and with such a great team, is great," Küng said. "I had a look at this stage before, a week ago. I knew it could be something for me. I like this kind of awful weather - rain and a little bit cold. I gave it a shot and in the end it turned out well. I had very good legs. It was amazing to take this win."

Küng slipped fellow breakaway companions Bakelants, Lindeman and Pavel Kochetkov (Team Katusha) on a descent after topping the second of three categorized climbs. With Team Sky leading the chase two minutes behind at that point, Küng's advance reconnaissance of the course paid off.  Before the stage, he had mechanics fit his bike with a 54-tooth front chainring to take advantage of the downhill run to the finish off the last climb.

"It is always very hard to know if you are going to win, but when I reached the top of the last GPM (mountain), I know that it was looking quite likely," Küng said.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said he knew Küng or another one of the BMC Racing Team riders would be up to the task of winning the stage on a day when forecasts of rain were correct.

"I told the guys that 50 percent of the peloton did not want to race and there were four-and-a-half hours of hard work ahead," Sciandri said. "I said, 'Guys you have trained and prepared for this and you believe in it.' And Stefan was one of the guys on the early break duty. The first break went and then all the rest you saw on TV."

Küng's victory was similar to his other win of the season, at the Volta Limburg Classic on April 4. There, he soloed the last 16 kilometers to lead a 1-3-7 finish by the BMC Racing Team.

"This is a big day for him and a big day for the team," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said. "Stefan is a big talent, but he also listens well to the sport directors and to (Performance Manager) David Bailey. So it is a nice package. This is not a surprise for us. He is already a champion."

Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEDGE), winner of Stages 2 and 3, retained the overall lead. Damiano Caruso, 11th at 35 seconds, is the BMC Racing Team's best-placed rider with teammates Rohan Dennis (17th, at 39 seconds) and Darwin Atapuma (18th, at 39 seconds) also in the top 20.

Küng also earned the day's "most combative rider" honors while the BMC Racing Team, which won its seventh race of the season, took the lead in the team standings. 



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