Switzerland’s dynamic time trial squad, including the likes of Marlen Reusser, Stefan Bissegger and Stefan Küng, made history by winning the mixed relay team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships for the second consecutive year, despite a mid-race crash by Reusser.
Küng, Bissegger and Mauro Schmid set the pace with a stellar first lap in Glasgow’s city-centre circuit, giving their female counterparts a 19-second edge over Italy. However, the race wasn’t without drama as Reusser slid out on a corner while sandwiched between teammates Elise Chabbey and Nicole Koller. Quick to recover, the 31-year-old helped lead Switzerland to a seven-second victory over France.
Reusser humorously remarked that her fall was “not the strategy,” and she praised the male team members for giving the women a head start. “We are very happy that the men always put us in such a nice time. They give us some time to do stupid things maybe [joke], so it’s very nice and thank you, guys,” she said.
Küng, who finished fifth at the elite men’s road race on Sunday, explained how trust played a critical role in navigating the course’s 60 corners and numerous hills. He also highlighted that Bissegger’s strong lead-out into the final climb was vital to the win. “I think the whole strategy worked out really well,” he said.
The Swiss victory, by a more significant margin than last year’s three-second triumph over Italy, served as a thank-you to the national federation for their continual support. Unlike other countries, Switzerland fielded a full-strength time trial squad, emphasizing how important the competition was to them.
“It’s the only real team event of the World Championships and, in the end, when you step on the podium, you step on it together,” Küng stated, expressing gratitude for the hard work of the entire federation and staff in Scotland.
The focus for Küng, Reusser, and Bissegger now shifts to the upcoming time trials on Thursday and Friday in Stirling. The courses, with fewer corners and a cobbled uphill rise to Stirling Castle, pose a different challenge. Reusser will need to recover from her crash while Küng is prepared, having gained insights from previous races.
“It’s a course where you hardly ever go out of the TT bars. I knew it beforehand, I trained for it, so it means another chance to fight for the rainbow on Friday. My condition is really well after the Tour and I raced on Sunday and today, so I’ll try to keep this momentum going into Friday,” Küng concluded.