Trek Selle San Marco 1-2 on Stage 4 at the Swiss Epic
Trek Selle San Marco continued their Swiss Epic dominance in Lenzerheide on Stage 4. The Italian teams finished in first and second position on the 48km long penultimate stage.
The four Italians representing the Trek Selle San Marco squad raced to their second 1-2 finish of the 2019 Swiss Epic in Lenzerheide on Friday, 23 August. After their mechanical misadventures on Stage 3, Samuele Porro and Damiano Ferraro matched the pace of the indefatigable race leaders; Michele Casagrande and Fabian Rabensteiner.
Given it was the shortest stage of the 2019 race the UCI riders only set out at 08h30, which helped make for the warmest start of the week. That and the fact that the general classification positions behind Casagrande and Rabensteiner were all to play for ensured a high paced start. The 2 150 metres of climbing ensured that it was not quite a cross-country day, the winning time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 33.2 seconds was an hour longer than a classic XCO race.
"Finally, the sun came out" said Porro, soaking up the rays and basking in the glow of his stage winning success. "After yesterday, when we had so much trouble [Ferraro had issues with a broken rear derailleur] we wanted to make it a great race today. We went out together with our other team [Casagrande and Rabensteiner]. It was a really nice day and a really nice track. Because there are so many technical singletracks in the Swiss Epic it is always possible to have a mechanical. That is why the first priority for us today was to stay with our other team so we could help them if they had any problems with mechanicals" he concluded.
Porro and Ferraro's victory on the day saw them move up into fifth place on the general classification, gaining one position back after losing valuable time on Stage 3. Casagrande and Rabensteiner were content to roll across the Lenzerheide finish line behind their Trek Selle San Marco teammates as their real general classification rivals were nearly two and a half minutes behind.
Centurion Vaude's Daniel Geismayr and Vinzent Dorn were next across the line. Dorn in particular had a real spring in his step after the conclusion of the stage. He had clearly been feeling the pressure of riding with the squad's strongest member at the Swiss Epic. Geismayr though was his usual cool, calm and collected self. "Vinzent [Dorn] had a very good day" the senior partner in the team praised. "He had a flat tyre early on and we lost some time. So, we had to first close the gap. But he was very strong and we could go at a good pace. I'm happy with the podium today" Geismayr concluded in his understated manner.
Behind the podium finishers, the tussle between Texpa Simplon and jb BRUNEX/Fischer BMC continued. It appears as if the four riders would sprint each other for twentieth position if it came to that and Noah Blöchlinger explained: "We race each other a lot on the cross-country circuit so we are very competitive. Michael Stünzi and Marc Stutzmann got the better of Blöchlinger and Casey South for the second time in four stages. The jb BRUNEX/Fischer BMC team hold the upper hand though, by virtue of their stage victory on Stage 3, and their better general classification position.
The general classification, as it stands ahead of the final day of the 2019 Swiss Epic, has Trek Selle San Marco ensconced in a relatively safe position. They hold an 8 minute and 27.7 second advantage over South and Blöchlinger. Texpa Simplon's Stünzi and Stutzmann are third, a further 4 minutes back. Casagrande and Rabensteiner have an ace up their sleeves in the case of a major mechanical in the form of their stablemates Porro and Ferraro. In order to overturn the Italian team's lead jb BRUNEX/Fischer BMC and Co. will need lady luck to turn badly on Trek Selle San Marco.
The route from Lenzerheide to Davos does provide the opportunity for a team to put pressure on their rivals and force a mistake. Featuring 2 350 metres of climbing in just 65 kilometres, an implosion from having burnt too many matches on the first four stages could see a team lose swaths of time. If things start to go wrong on the climb from the Landwasser Viaduct to the Äbirugg, which lasts nearly 30 kilometres, the Swiss Epic's final general classification standings could look very different by the time the riders reach Davos. Be sure not to miss the racing action, tune in at 07h30 local time, on Saturday by visiting www.swiss-epic.com.
UCI Men | Stage 4
1. Trek Selle San Marco: Samuele Porro & Damiano Ferraro (2:27:33,2)
2. Trek Selle San Marco A: Michele Casagrande & Fabian Rabensteiner (2:27:34,2 | +1,0)
3. Centurion Vaude: Daniel Geismayr & Vinzent Dorn (2:29:55,8 | +2.22,6)
4. Texpa Simplon: Michael Stünzi & Marc Stutzmann (2:30:32,7 | +2.59,5)
5. jb BRUNEX / Fischer BMC: Casey South & Noah Blöchlinger (2:30:33,0 | +2.59,8)
UCI Men | GC After Stage 4
1. Trek Selle San Marco A: Michele Casagrande & Fabian Rabensteiner (13:02:46,1)
2. jb BRUNEX / Fischer BMC: Casey South & Noah Blöchlinger (13:11:13,8 | +8.27,7)
3. Texpa Simplon: Michael Stünzi & Marc Stutzmann (13:15:16,8 | +12.30,7)
4. Centurion Vaude: Daniel Geismayr & Vinzent Dorn (13:23:16,2 | +20.30,1)
5. Trek Selle San Marco: Samuele Porro & Damiano Ferraro (13:23:43,6 | +20.57,5)