It was a day Marlen Reusser had been looking forward to for a long time – the 25.7-kilometre time trial of the Tour de Suisse. This is her favoured discipline in the race of her homeland. “I dreamed about this day, which is why this win means a lot to me,” said the Swiss rider after she won the time trial by staying eight seconds ahead of teammate Demi Vollering on the technical course around Abtwil.
Reusser was excited and proud when she heard that the Tour de Suisse was included in the WorldTour circuit this year. The two-time European time trial champion immediately made her home race a goal. “When the course was announced, I was already hoping I could win this time trial and take the leader’s jersey here,” Reusser indicated. “I have been looking forward to this enormously. This time trial was also a fantastic experience. Normally you don’t hear the public during a time trial, because you ride too fast and the helmet shields you from the outside world. On these climbs, you ride a lot slower and there was a lot of audience. I could hear them calling my name everywhere, which was a wonderful experience.”
Reusser calls time trialling a “brutal” discipline. “And especially this time trial was so tough,” she acknowledged. “I think I graded the time trial well. It was quite difficult, because you are constantly asking yourself if you are going fast enough. However, you can’t go too fast, because then you blow yourself up. It is constantly a quest to find the ideal line. I think I did this well. Furthermore, I must have pushed enough power on the pedals and had a good position on the bike. After all, on the technical part, like in the corners and on the descent, I never went ‘full gas’ and lost some ground.”
At the intermediate points of the 25.7-kilometre course, Reusser did not clock up the fastest times. “Through the team management I heard the times. Fair? I didn’t think I would win. Elisa Longo Borghini is known as one of the best descenders. There was another technical section at the end. I thought she would gain time on me there.”
For Reusser, the tragic death of her compatriot Gino Mäder during the men’s race hit hard. “With what happened to Gino, my feelings towards this home race had changed somewhat. I still think it’s a good choice that we ride here. Just as I also think it is good that I am enjoying this leader’s jersey around my shoulders.”
“Of course, his death plays continuously through our heads. I was actually not in a good flow. I held back for the dangerous corners and was more careful on the descents. It was hard to keep the focus on the sport in the last few days. It is so ‘shocking’ what happened to Gino. I noticed yesterday in the first stage of the Tour de Suisse that I could put it out of my mind somewhat, because in the race you are completely focused on how to ride. Although I also noticed then that I was more careful in the descents anyway. In my career, I also had a serious fall once. I know from that period that it then takes a while before you dare to ride ‘full gas’ again. You know, this sport is stupid sometimes. Because sometimes you have to take risks. What happened is in my head. And yes, that definitely plays a role in the race as well.”
Reusser managed to win the time trial with eight seconds lead on teammate Demi Vollering. It is now the 21st consecutive win for Team SD Worx. The team has incredibly not lost since the last stage of La Vuelta Femenina. After winning the time trial, Reusser also takes over the yellow leader’s jersey in the Tour de Suisse from teammate Blanka Vas who won the first stage.