Stefan Küng rode a perfect virtual ride to snatch victory from Michael Matthews in the fourth Digital Swiss Five race.
The Swiss rider caught and overtook the Australian in the final 2km, having fought back from far back to take his second win of the eRacing series.
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Michael Matthews (Sunweb) had attacked from kilometre zero of the 37km virtual race and led throughout but eventually had to settle for second. Ineos’ Ethan Hayter finished third, 44 seconds back, while Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Michael Gogl (NTT) rounded out the top five.
How it happened
At the firing of the starting gun, Sunweb’s Michael Matthews flew off the front of the pack, trying to improve on his third place in the second race.
It was instead Ineos’ Luke Rowe who suffered technical difficulties this time around, the British squad left with Ben Swift and Ethan Hayter to represent them in the fourth race.
As Matthews continued to plug away André Greipel (Israel Start – Up Nation) put in a big effort to catch up to the Australian.
Greipel soon slipped back as the road went uphill, with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) up into second place, 100m behind Matthews.
Van Avermaet then fell out of the top five, with Hayter moving up, followed fairly closely by Silvan Dillier (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Michael Gogl (NTT). At the first intermediate time check after 12km, Matthews led Hayter by 19 seconds, with Dillier five seconds further back.
Soon after Stefan Küng, riding for the Swiss national team live from the Swiss Federation HQ, leapt up into third place, leapfrogging his compatriot Dillier.
Near the halfway stage Hayter had done a good job pegging Matthews back to within 131m, with Gogl now moving up into third.
However, Matthews pushed on on the downhill, putting out around 400W and doubling his gap, as Victor Campenaerts (NTT) puffed away in his attic, sitting in seventh place virtually, chasing down Greg Van Avermaet ahead of him.
Küng was still moving up, leapfrogging Hayter to go second with 10km to go, 18 seconds and 220m behind Matthews as they found themselves halfway on the sloping run-in to the finish. With both riders putting out around 6W/kg, Küng’s greater weight and higher wattage meant we were heading for a nailbiting finish.
With 5km to go, the gap had come down to within 10 seconds, as Ethan Hayter in third found himself half a minute behind. 3km later Küng was on terms with Matthews before the Australian countered, pulling away once again, before Küng finally overtook the Sunweb rider with just over 1km to go.
The pair were neck-and-neck under the flamme rouge as Küng began pulling away from Matthews, both pushing out 500W in the final kilometre. Matthews banged his handlebars as he realised the Swiss rider had got the better of him, with Küng heard breathing heavily after his magnificent effort.
The Swiss Digital Five, race four: Oberlangenegg to Langnau (36.76km)
1. Stefan Küng (Sui) Swiss National Federation, in 46-03
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb, at seven seconds
3. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos, at 44s
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC, at 58s
5. Michael Gogl (Aut) NTT), at 1-00