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Lausanne, June 15, 2019 (AFP) – Bahrain-Merida’s Australian rider Rohan Dennis took a razor-thin victory on the opening day individual time-trial at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday.
Dennis, who beat Tom Dumoulin at the 2018 time-trial world championships, completed the 9.5km high-altitude course in 10min 50sec.
The entire top ten were within 11 seconds of each other as Poland’s Maciej Bodnar was second and another Australian, Sunweb’s Michael Matthews, was third.
For Dennis, the victory is his first since joining Bahrain from BMC, and his first time trial win since earning the rainbow stripes last fall.
“This is a step forward and we’re only going in one direction from here,” Dennis said. “There’s still the rest of the week and the time trial later in the week is a goal of mine too. And then there’s the Tour de France. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Tour de Suisse will serve as the final preparation race for defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas. Of the overall contenders for the eight-stage run through the Alps, Thomas was fastest. His young Ineos teammate the talented Colombian all-rounder Egan Bernal, was just six seconds behind him.
“I’ll refuel at the at the hotel tonight,” said Thomas, admitting he never expected to challenge for the win on Saturday. “There’s a big eight days to come. Tomorrow is a new day and we’re looking forward to getting back on the bike and giving our all.”
Bora leader Peter Sagan, who has had a quiet spring, was seventh Saturday, suggesting his form is coming around just in time for the Tour de France.
Sagan is capable of a surprise on Sunday when the real hostilities could begin on a stage that loops three times around Langnau on a circuit that contains two mountain passes.
Stage 1 results
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida 0:10:50
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:01
4 Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:00:02
5 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First 0:00:05
7 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:07
8 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team 0:00:08
9 Stefan Kung (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:09
10 Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First 0:00:11