Brändle (IAM Cycling) attacked from a four-rider breakaway in the final three kilometres, and successfully pursuited to the finish to hold off Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quick Step).
“Today was important for me – the last six or seven days, I was questioning myself because my body was not working,” he said.
“I had good feelings at home in training, but the last stages were hard. I couldn’t put any power through the pedals.
“My body hasn’t worked the same as normal in the 40°C. So yesterday, when I saw the forecast for today said the temperature would go down to 30°C, I looked at the stage’s profile and map and I started dreaming about winning it."
Brändle said he realised the group would stay away when it entered the final 50 kilometres with an advantage of nine minutes over a nonplussed peloton, but the presence of Keisse in the group meant he did not want to take his chances in a sprint finish.
“I was afraid [of Keisse], that’s why I attacked,” he added. “I saw he was suffering on the last climb, so I thought ‘don’t take a risk, try and drop him before the finish’. “
The 25-year-old Austrian rider compared his victory here to the two he took on consecutive days in last year’s Tour of Britain into Exeter and Hemel Hempstead.
He said: “In the breakaway, the feeling was the same as it was in Britain: we had strong riders, we worked together.
“I told them we had to work together and not go too hard in the climbs. In the end I was lucky to be the strongest.”
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