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Swiss Score Double in European Time Trial Championships

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

Switzerland had a very good day on German roads on Wednesday when two of its star cyclists, Stefan Bissegger and Marlen Reusser, won the men’s and women’s European Time Trial Championships. In addition, another Swiss, Stefan Küng, finished second in the men’s race, beaten by less than a whisker by his compatriot.

For the 23-year-old Bisseger, who rides for the EF Education–EasyPost team, the win represented the biggest victory of his short career and suggests that a bright future lies ahead for the speed cyclist. An excellent sprinter, he has already won several points classification competitions, including the Tour de Suisse in 2021.

However, his victory over the short 24-km course in the town of Fürstenfeldbruck near Munich was anything but easy. His final margin over Küng was a mere 0.3 sec. The Italian time-trial world champion, Filippo Ganna, was third, 9 seconds adrift. Though the race came just two days before the start of the Vuelta a España, it managed to attract three of the best ITT riders in the world, with the three favourites putting on quite a show.

Ellen van Dijk (L), Marlen Reusser (C), and Riejanne Markus (R) during the medal ceremony. © Profimedia

Küng, who was going for his third successive victory in the race, lost valuable time on the only real challenge of the course, a 750-m climb shortly after the start that included gradients of 16%. Ganna seemed headed for a victory until he began losing momentum in the final third of the course.

In the women’s race, the 30-year-old Reusser won her second successive European ITT championship, beating Dutch rider Ellen van Dijk by 6 sec. Another Dutch cyclist, Riejanne Markus, finished third, 28 secs behind the winner. The women’s race was held before the men’s race but over the same course.

No one was more surprised than Reusser by her victory as she had no communication with her team and thought she was doing badly during the race. “My radio didn’t work, and it didn’t feel like it was my day,” Reusser told Eurosport after the race. “I also rode without my Garmin [computer], and I had the feeling I didn’t have the legs to win.”

It wasn’t until she passed German Lisa Brennauer, who had started 1 min 30 sec ahead of her, that she realized that she might have a chance. “Mentally, it was good to see Lisa riding in front of me,” Reusser said. “I didn’t hear any split times but I did know that Lisa is a good time trialist. So that did help me, and I have to thank Lisa for that.” She also thanked her team for all the preparatory work it had put in. “We worked a lot on aerodynamics,” she said. “I got a new bike, a new cockpit. It was real teamwork.”