Peter Sagan won the second stage of the Tour de Suisse and in doing so, extended his record for the number of stage wins at the race to sixteen. The World Road Race champion has also taken a stage victory in every edition of the race for the past seven years.
Starting and finishing in Frauenfeld, the first road stage of the 2018 race would again make its way around the northern Swiss canton of Thurgau over a 39-kilometre circuit ridden four times, making for a total distance of 155 kilometres. On the undulating profile, the key feature of the day was the third category Herdern climb which, while nowhere near as hard as the climbs still to come in the race, would steadily have an impact on the riders’ legs as the day went on.
The second the flag dropped to mark the end of the neutralised zone at the start, a three-man break went clear, with Perrig Quéméneur (Direct Énergie), Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport) quickly building up a lead of three minutes.
This was about as much as the peloton was going to allow though, and for the rest of the day the time gap was never much more than two minutes, in spite of an attack from the bunch by Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott) adding one more to their number. Shortly after crossing the finish line for the penultimate time, the peloton was close, with it all back together shortly after with 17 kilometres remaining.
German National Champion, Marcus Burghardt, together with Daniel Oss, took charge at the head of the peloton. Inside the final kilometre, Team Sunweb hit the front in support of Michael Matthews, but with 300 metres remaining, Fernando Gaviria jumped early
Reacting instinctively to Gaviria’s kick, Sagan jumped on his wheel and came around the Colombian to take an unprecedented sixteenth stage victory ahead of Gaviria and Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin).
Peter Sagan – “I’m very happy about this, and have to thank all my BORA-hansgrohe teammates for their support today. They trust me enough to work so hard through the day and it means I can go for the win. I was thinking about the team’s tactics and in the end it worked out exactly as we’d planned. I’m very happy to have won the stage. All my preparation has been good and I’m feeling a bit more relaxed about the rest of the race now. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into these wins behind the scenes. My legs aren’t at their best yet and I still have some work to do before the Tour de France, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the race.”