BMC Racing took victory on the opening team time trial of the Tour de Suisse as they put Stefan Küng in the leader’s jersey and Richie Porte in the perfect position with an early advantage over his GC rivals.
Despite being down to four riders for much of the 18km stage around Frauenfeld, Team Sunweb were the best of the rest ahead of Quick-Step Floors, but BMC, the penultimate team to finish on the day, were really head and shoulders above the rest.
Earlier in the day, UAE Team Emirates were the surprise early leaders setting a time of 21-20 for the 18km course, holding off challenges from the likes of Team Sky and LottoNL Jumbo, a contrast to the disappointing 20th place that their team-mates managed in the Critérium du Dauphiné team time trial a few days ago.
However despite setting a strong time, it was no surprise that UAE Team Emirates soon came under pressure with Quick-Step Floors the unsurprising name to knock the Emirati team off the top of the standings with a new best mark of 20-45.
Movistar were the next team to put in a good ride as they finished just six seconds down on Quick-Step, before Bora-Hansgrohe with Peter Sagan in their ranks ran the Belgian team incredibly close as they missed out on top spot by just half a second.
Unsurprisingly team time trial world champions Team Sunweb were also putting in a strong ride as they went quickest at the intermediate check, before cracks began to show as riders were dropped and Wilco Kelderman struggled to hold on with just four riders left in the line.
But despite these issues Sunweb were still able to beat Quick-Step’s time at the finish, setting a new best time of 20-37, which couldn’t be challenged by Mitchelton-Scott, the penultimate team to finish.
That left pre-race favourites BMC Racing, with their all-star squad including Richie Porte, Greg Van Avermaet, and Tejay Van Garderen, and Katusha-Apecin as the only team left on the course.
BMC were on a typically strong team time trial day, going fastest at the first intermediate check and fastest at the finish as they knocked 19 seconds off Sunweb’s time with local rider Stefan Küng leading them across the line.
With Katusha-Alpecin unable to come close to matching BMC’s time, the American team were able to celebrate stage victory with Küng in the leader’s jersey and Porte and Van Garderen in the strongest position possible in the general classification.
Tour de Suisse 2018, stage one: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 18km (TTT)
1. BMC Racing (USA), in 20-18
2. Team Sunweb (Ned), at 19 secs
3. Quick-Step Floors (Bel), at 27 secs
4. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger), at same time
5. Mitchelton-Scott (Aus), at 29 secs
6. Movistar (Esp), at 33 secs
7. Bahrain-Merida (Bhr), at 36 secs
8. Groupama-FDJ (Fra), at 45 secs
9. Katusha-Alpecin (Sui), at 46 secs
10. UAE Team Emirates (UAE), at 50 secs
General classification after stage one
1. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, in 20-18
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, all at same time
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 20 secs
6. Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9. Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing, at 25 secs
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 27 secs