The closing stage of the Tour de Suisse took place on Sunday… in Liechtenstein. On a 25,6-kilometre time trial around Vaduz, Stefan Küng was up there for the victory. First at the intermediate checkpoint, he nevertheless had to settle for third place at the finish, eleven seconds behind stage winner Remco Evenepoel. However, he moved up two ranks in the general standings to complete his astonishing Tour de Suisse in fifth position. Sébastien Reichenbach (12th) and Thibaut Pinot (14th) ended up in the top-15 overall after a very satisfying week for the Groupama-FDJ cycling team.

Stefan Küng surprised everyone, starting with himself, in the Tour de Suisse’s mountains this week. However, his main objective remained the final 25,6-kilometer time trial in Vaduz. Before he started, at 3:38 p.m., Lewis Askey, Antoine Duchesne and Matteo Badilatti first completed the course, quite rolling in the first half, a bit hillier in the second. Shortly before 4 p.m., yesterday’s winner Thibaut Pinot also set a decent time in 30’40. The double European time trial champion got on the launch pad a few minutes after the Frenchman and went on to set the best time on the intermediate point 13 minutes and 53 seconds later. He was then ahead of Remco Evenepoel, the other stage’s favourite. In the second half of the course, however, the Swiss rider did not really manage to keep up the pace and therefore joined the finish line ten seconds behind the Belgian rider. Later, Geraint Thomas pushed him back to third place, for eight seconds. “The first part was very fast with the tailwind,” said Stefan. “We planned a target power, but the heat really took its toll, and I couldn’t push harder in the second part. The plan was to increase the pace a bit, but I had nothing left in my legs. Overall, I experienced an extraordinary Tour de Suisse, but I would have really liked to win the time trial”.

“It’s a nice week”, Yvon Madiot

Third against the clock, Stefan Küng also climbed to fifth place overall this Sunday. “We certainly didn’t win, but we still had a good day,” said Yvon. “Stefan is beaten by two other specialists. We see that there are not big differences between the best time trialists. One wins one day; another wins the other day. It comes down to details. I think Stefan has done a great week, especially in the mountains the last two days, and he’s definitely left some energy there.” Sébastien Reichenbach slipped to twelfth place overall, two positions ahead of Thibaut Pinot. This being said, Yvon Madiot was quite satisfied with the team’s performances in Switzerland. “We saw very good things,” he confirmed. “A top-5 in the Tour de Suisse is a very big performance for us. We took a stage victory, we got third on the time trial, we’ve had seven other top-10s. We were up there almost every day. It’s been a great week according to me. Thibaut is in very good shape before the Tour. He told us he would be ready, and he proved it. Stefan surprised us a little in the mountains, and he is certainly ready too. To put it in a nutshell, this week is successful in terms of results, and promising ahead of the next weeks”.  

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