Baloise Belgium Tour – Stage 1 – Matthias Brändle «I came here to test myself and in the end the result is encouragingly conclusive»

27 May 2015

IAM Cycling

IAM Cycling Belgium Tour Stage 1 Brandle Matthias leader Dieter Vanderlinden(source: http: Baloise Belgium Tour /Dieter Vanderlinden)

A special atmosphere pervaded the Belgium camp of the IAM Cycling team this morning which could only be described as serene.  Everything was in order down to the smallest detail for the Swiss team.  There was no pressure, just trust.  And confirming the predictions of some, Matthias Brändle opened his race with a stunning success in the prologue that kicked off the Tour of Belgium.   This victory for the IAM Cycling rider was far from sneaky or sloppy.  Extremely concentrated and demonstrating a mastery of a very technical 6.2 kilometer course, the former world hour record holder set a time that stood up to all comers, including second place Rohan Dennis (BMC) who fell short of Brändle’s time by 2 seconds.

But this was not the only success the Swiss team had today, since Martin Elmiger also managed to slot in an excellent result.  Elmiger, the Swiss road race champion, spent much of the day with the best provisional time, and ultimately ended up in 4th place, 9 seconds behind the winner.  This strong start by Elmiger means that he now poses a serious option for the overall classification along with his Austrian teammate.

Tirreno Adriatico 2015

When asked to assess his ride, Matthias Brändle was obviously happy and playful when sharing his impressions.  “It was not very long, but it was hard!  I’m really happy with my result and my race.  I have not raced for some time.  I have been mostly training and now all my efforts are rewarded.  Yet I still don’t feel 100% on my game, so I came here to test myself, and in the end the result was encouragingly conclusive.  I am doubly pleased because it was not really an easy course.  The prologue was short, so we had to get going very fast.  There were many turns and I had to be careful approaching them, but then had to accelerate out of them very quickly.”

His expert reading of the course was rewarded with the victory, but also the overall lead. Brändle is committed to defending the distinctive bright red leader’s jersey.  “Of course, I will do everything to defend the jersey,” Brändle confirmed.  “But I can’t say I am going to win the Tour of Belgium since we are still very far away from the finish.  We must not forget that we have many good riders in the team including Martin Elmiger and Dries Devenyns, who are both in good shape.  The next stages will be difficult, so if I lose the jersey, but it stays within the IAM Cycling team, that will certainly be a great satisfaction.”

Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif along with Mario Chiesa, reiterated these sentiments regarding the team’s goals for the Belgian race.  “We have started as well as can be hoped with Matthias and Martin in first and fourth.  We came here to win a stage; now that’s been accomplished we have additional goals to work towards in the coming days.  We can be pleased since this initial success takes a lot of pressure off the entire team, but also Matthias who really wanted to win.  Now the team will have more work to do since we will want to defend the jersey.  We are the race leaders and we must do everything to preserve this leader’s jersey.  Opponents are bound to attack us, but if we ride intelligently with our great team, then we should be able to succeed.”