A return to racing saw Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Nathan Haas ready to grab a podium spot on the second stage of the 82nd Tour de Suisse. Taking part in a field sprint, Haas managed a third place in Frauenfeld, behind winner Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) and Quickstep Floor’s Fernando Gaviria.
“It’s always nice to come back after a bit of a break from form and to actually be in the real final of the race. I think realistically today third place was probably the best I could have done, but I think it was only about half a wheel between first, second and third. There is always that small part of you that thinks maybe you could have won today, but in all honesty, to be that close to Sagan and Gaviria and have (Michael) Matthews and Van Avermaet and these others guys behind me, it’s a very nice feeling,” said the newly-married Nathan Haas. The winning time was 3:50:09 (40.41km/h) on the 155k hilly course.
The race lead still belongs to BMC’s Stefan Küng after the stage 1 opening team time trial, followed in second and third place by teammates Greg Van Avermaet and Richie Porte.
“This wasn’t a stage that was perfect for me,” said Nathan Haas. “I think those stages are coming in the next few days. So, it’s nice to see that I have good form. The team today rode really awesome. And I think we’ve got some nice momentum going into the rest of the race.”
The nine-day race continues on Monday with stage 3. At 182k, the course begins in Oberstammheim and ends in Gansingen and is another hilly challenge for the riders.
Haas explained: “Tomorrow is a similar stage but even harder, so it suits me better. My sprint stays just about the same the longer and harder the day is, whereas I think for some of the other bigger guys, especially Gaviria, his sprint takes a beating on a day when we do 3000 meters of climbing. Today was 1800 meters. Tomorrow is a little more than 3000, so it suits me and if I have a good day I will really be trying for the victory.”
Photos: Heinz Zwicky/Getty Images