Quick-Step Floors open Tour de Suisse with solid TTT
Our squad finished third in Frauenfeld, for the 65th podium since the start of the season.
Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Enric Mas and Maximiliano Richeze were the seven Quick-Step Floors riders who lined out for a rather atypical start of the Tour de Suisse on Saturday afternoon, a team time trial which replaced the traditional prologue that used to kick off the eight-decade long race.
The 18.3km-long rolling terrain saw a motivated Quick-Step Floors head down the start ramp and after just ten minutes blast through the 8.1km intermediate checkpoint – despite losing several riders early, one due to a mechanical – the 10:24 time remaining the reference mark until the final 20 minutes, when it was improved by two teams.
Clocked in 20:45 at the finish line, Quick-Step Floors remained in the hot seat until the closing minutes of the stage, when BMC and Team Sunweb pushed our outfit to third place. One of the most successful teams this century at the Tour de Suisse, the World Tour leader notched up the 65th podium since the beginning of the year, a remarkable performance which serves again as proof of the team's fantastic consistency.
"With the first half of the stage packing two climbs, we decided to ride full gas from the start, because we knew it was there that we could gain time, as the second part, which contained a fast descent and flat roads, didn't present any opportunities to take an advantage. Unfortunately, we lost Iljo quite early, then Fernando tried to close the gap but it wasn't easy, while Tim had an untimely mechanical. For that reason, we were down to four riders inside the last kilometers and we lost important time there. Considering all these factors, I thing we can be satisfied with our time trial; third in this company is a good result", said sports director Tom Steels at the end of the stage.
Photo credit: ©Heinz Zwicky/ Getty Images