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Foto: Tim De Waele
Foto: Tim De Waele

Race up the Klausenpass lives up to billing, turns GC on head

21. June 2008


The race organizers certainly out did themselves when planning this individual time trial into the parcours of the 2008 Tour de Suisse.

At 25km, the ride up the Klausenpass is one of the longest uphill time trials in recent memory.  The ride up to the Plan de Corones at the 2008 Tour of Italy was not even 13km.  L’Alpe d’Huez is also 13km, and Ventoux is nearly 20km straight up. But to have the riders pace themselves alone up a 25 km pass after seven hard days of racing certainly makes this day one of the hardest racing days on the calendar this year.

The hard effort would separate riders by minutes, not seconds

A flat 25km time trial would normally be won with a finishing time of around 30 minutes.  The severity of the test at hand was evident when the race director predicted that the winning time would come in at 1 hour.  His prediction was spot on as the young Czech rider Roman Kreuziger from Liquigas succeeded in taking the stage with a time of 1 hour and 22 seconds.  Though the top three finishers were within 20 seconds of each other, the times start tumbling from there once one gazed further down the leader board.  BMC had a reasonably successful day, as Alex Moos managed to keep himself within the top 20 in the GC.  “It was not a super day for me,” Moos explained.  “I think I am a little tired from the week of racing, and after 25km uphill, I feel a little loopy.”  The other BMC riders were not using this stage as anything but a personal challenge, however several had very good days in the saddle.  “For myself, I am very content with my performance,” Sprinter Danilo Wyss said.  “I didn’t know what to expect, but I had very good legs, with excellent sensations the entire way up.  I just went all out the whole way.”  Finishing in 72nd place is an excellent result for the young sprinter.

The end of a long week

Fatigue must be setting in for a number of the riders since this has been a very challenging Tour de Suisse.  The weather has varied wildly from rainy and cold the first several days, to extremely hot and sunny in the second half of the week.  Today the thermostat was approaching a warm 30° C much of the stage.  “This sort of level of racing is a learning experience for our riders,” Chilcott said.  Alex Moos being one of the most experienced racers in the peloton sees the improvement, and acknowledges the difficulty of the task.  “A race like this is not easy, and we have a lot of young riders,” Moos said.  “Of course they need the experience, and they are doing a very good job while they are growing into larger roles in the peloton.”  

Final stage Sunday: prime chance to show off the colors

Tomorrow’s final stage will take the riders on a jagged course back towards Bern.  Though there are only a couple of Category 4 climbs near the end of the stage, the profile resembles the inside of an alligator’s mouth, and should be much harder than the usual promenade found at the end of longer tours.  “I will wait till tomorrow to think about tomorrow,” Moos said.  “I am really too tired now to make any plans for attacking.”  Though the finish will be slightly uphill, it will be a day largely for the sprinters.  “The countryside around Bern is well known to be very undulating,” Danilo Wyss said.  “The stage will be very challenging and similar to the finish at Lyss.”  As Danilo finished an excellent 6th on the stage into Lyss, there is every expectations for a similarly stellar performance from the young sprinter.