The Swiss champion’s jersey stays in the Groupama-FDJ team. After Steve Morabito in 2018 and Sébastien Reichenbach in 2019, Stefan Küng conquered it at the very end of this 2020 season. Already a winner of the Swiss and European titles in the time trial, the 26-year-old rider got his very first road race title on Saturday in Märwil, closing his season in the best possible way.

“I thought that this situation might not happen again”, Stefan Küng

They were seventy riders for one title, and the Groupama-FDJ team could count on four men in the Swiss road race championship on Saturday. In addition to defending champion Sébastien Reichenbach, Stefan Küng, Fabian Lienhard and Kilian Frankiny were also in the mix for the national jersey. As no team had the means to completely control the race, the latter promised to be as usual quite open. It was therefore necessary not to be a step behind. “For me, the strategy was to remain rather calm in the first part of the race and let the others do their things”, explained Stefan Küng. “This is what I managed to do well. Fabian and Sébastien followed the very first attacks. Therefore, the other teams had to do the work to bring them back, as it was still dangerous attacks.”

In the first fifty kilometers, Sébastien Reichenbach first went in a three-man move with Simon Pellaud and Danilo Wyss before Fabian Lienhard joined him up front about halfway through the race. However, the bunch always remained quite close and everything came back together with 110 kilometers done. “I saw that everyone was a bit at their limits at that point,” Stefan said. “There had been a real fight and it was really hard until there. So I did my effort a little earlier than expected, and I launched my attack at that moment because I thought that this situation might not happen again, and that it would be more difficult to take a gap later. I tried my luck and once I took 50 meters, I told myself “it’s up to you now, if you’re strong enough, you bring this jersey home”. I was also able to count on the support of my teammates behind. They closed all the attacks of the other competitors and that allowed me to increase the gap. It was then a long time trial of 70 kilometers”.

“I won my very first race here in 2004”, Stefan Küng

During his solo, Stefan Küng constantly increased his lead indeed, while Kilian Frankiny, Sébastien Reichenbach and Fabien Lienhard were defending his attempt in a 15-man chase group. The Swiss and European time trial champion, who had a three-minute lead with thirty kilometers to go, eventually arrived safely to the line as the winner, with a substantial margin of five minutes. They were seventy riders at the start, but Stefan Küng was in a league on his own on Saturday. “I knew the course very well,” said the 26-year-old Swiss rider. “There have always been races here and I won my very first race here in 2004 when I was 10 years old. It’s obviously nice to win this title on this course, especially since it’s 10-15 kilometers from home”. In a short but intense season, Stefan Küng therefore won three titles, but also got a bronze medal at the Time Trial World Championships, a podium on the BinckBank Tour, took 5th on Ghent-Wevelgem, 8th on the 3 Days of Bruges-La Panne and 15th on the Strade Bianche almost 3 months ago.

“I’m very happy that the pro cycling world has managed to organize almost all the races,” he said. “Apart from Paris-Roubaix, we were able to do all the major races as planned. Speaking about that, I want to say thank you and hats off to the organizers of this Swiss championship. When they took the initiative to organize this race a few weeks ago, we weren’t sure it could happen, but it did take place with good sanitary conditions. It made me all the more eager to do honour to this race, this jersey but also to the organizer who gave so much time and dedication to it”. So for at least a year, Stefan Küng will wear champion’s jerseys on road races and in time trials. “I can get rid of all the Groupama-FDJ jerseys I have in my wardrobe”, he concluded with a smile. “Anyway, I’m really looking forward to being able to wear this Swiss champion’s jersey from next year”.