Baloise Belgium Tour – Stage 5 – Martin Elmiger There is no better learning experience for our young guys than a race like this»

31 May 2015

IAM Cycling


IAM Cycling did not have the good fortune it had looked to have today.  On the fifth and final stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour, the IAM Cycling team had mixed results.  After its leader and the man in the red jersey, Matthias Brändle was forced to abandon due to extreme nausea, the Swiss team was able to find consolation in Martin Elmiger’s 10th place in the stage final, which was not dissimilar in profile to a difficult Liège-Bastogne-Liège.  The top-10 was sufficient for the Swiss road race champion to climb into fifth place overall, 1’49” behind Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) who won the stage and the overall.

IAM Cycling Belgium Tour Stage 4 ambiance(source: – Dieter Vanderlinden)

In spite of this positive outcome, the day did not begin with the best auspices.  “Matthias Brändle woke up feeling nauseated this morning,” Vincent Chollet, team doctor from the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), explained.  “He had serious stomach pains.  After having a brief interview with him, it was clear to me that he had all the symptoms of gastroenteritis.  We can’t point fingers at anyone, since it is really just a terribly timed stroke of bad luck.  It could have come from a contamination at the hotel or a virus within the bunch.  But within IAM Cycling, we are extremely diligent about doing everything we can to avoid problems like this.  We work with a nutritionist, and all the people who come into contact with the riders are well aware of all the precautions that must be taken in terms of food and hygiene.  It can range from as simple yet essential a practice like washing one’s hands many times a day, to ensure that the germs are not carried from hands to food, especially because we are nomads at a stage race, roaming from place to place.  In addition to that, the hotels must also be aware of and respect these guidelines, especially as regards their food buffets.  Of course, at the end of the day, the stomach of a top-trained athlete is more fragile than an average person.  At this point, we have come to the end of a strenuous race.  In the face of the efforts that the riders have had to make over the past week, the immune system is necessarily weakened.”

As for the race itself, the finale followed the hectic logic of the previous stages.  After several breakaway attempts, a group of 24 riders, which included Martin Elmiger, finally emerged strong enough to compete for the win.  Greg Van Avermaet proved the strongest and managed to win not only the stage but the overall as well.  Elmiger raced in 1’26” later, in 10th place.  Satisfied with his result, Elmiger was pleased to uphold the IAM Cycling end of the bargain for this race that had more than its usual share of difficulties.  “It was hard.  We were racing the entire day full gas,” Elmiger said.  “I was with the best.  I wasn’t missing too much, but I did the best I could.  I have not raced for six weeks, and I am very happy with how good I feel.  I think I’ll be in excellent shape for the Tour of Switzerland, which is my next race.”

Tour Down Under 2015

“We had a great week as a team here at the Baloise Belgium Tour, since everyone preformed to the maximum to defend Matthias’ red jersey.  There is no better learning opportunity for the young guys than a race like this.  Being in the lead, and ushering the peloton through the day, that is completely different to riding simply in the middle of the pack.  It was also an excellent chance to give IAM some coverage in Belgium, which is a cycling-crazy country.”

This is a positive assessment that Mario Chiesa, directeur sportif along with Eddy Seigneur, was happy to share.  “There were a lot of riders who were returning to their strengths in this race, and that they did so this week is really fantastic.  We wanted to win a stage, and we did.  All the good that happened later was more or less a bonus.  I want to stress how strongly our three young riders, Simon Pellaud, Sondre Holst Enger and Marcel Aregger, performed.  They all did a great job and gave everything they had in the tank in order to keep the team in the leader’s jersey for as long as possible.  So, huge congratulations to the whole team.”