The Tour de Suisse got back in Swiss territory on Monday, with a second stage towards the Canton of Zurich. In the final, a short three-kilometre climb reduced the peloton, but the sprinters still had the last word and Bryan Coquard claimed victory. Present within the peloton, Sam Watson and Stefan Küng retained their sixth and eighth places overall, while Lenny Martinez and Rudy Molard also finished in the first bunch. Another punchy final will be on the menu tomorrow in Rüschlikon.

The day after an opening time trial won by Yves Lampaert, the sprinters maybe had their only opportunity of the week this Monday, on stage 2. Still, there were a few climbs to overcome over the 177 kilometres of racing, including in the final. “It was supposed to be a day without any real danger, and we expected a punchy finish since the last climb, located ten kilometres from the finish, could be used to get rid of a few sprinters,” noted Thierry Bricaud. The anticipated bunch finish nevertheless did not prevent five men from hitting the front from the start, and the peloton from giving them almost five minutes of a lead. The gap naturally went down as the final got closer. “The last hour of racing was quite fast and intense, with a few collisions, but we avoided them,” explained Thierry. “It was a bit like the scenario we expected.”

“There were no big moves”, Thierry Bricaud

The last riders standing from the breakaway tackled the last climb less than a minute ahead of a very nervous peloton. As the difficulty approached, Groupama-FDJ moved up in the wake of Sven-Erik Bystrom. “It was important to be positioned before the bottom, then Sam had to follow the attacks if he could, just like Rudy,” added Thierry. “It went fast at the beginning, but it settled down a bit afterwards, so there were no big moves.” Approaching the summit, a split was made in the peloton, but everything came back together after a high-speed downhill. At the head of the pack, Stefan Küng followed a few accelerations, yet not that of Alberto Bettiol, who was caught before the flamme rouge. “Stefan followed a bit, but there were still a lot of riders left,” said Thierry. “The initial goal was to do the sprint with Sam, but we thought the bunch would be a bit smaller. There were still 80 riders left, including quite a few pure sprinters, so it was a bit more complicated.”

The Briton couldn’t position himself for the sprint and therefore finished beyond the top-20 alongside his Swiss teammate. Lenny Martinez and Rudy Molard also finished in the same time. “Tomorrow, the finale is a little harder, but we should have a scenario roughly similar to today,” Thierry punctuated.

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