We expect Patrick Bevin to be there at the sharp end in a time trial or sometimes in a bunch sprint. But Bevin took 6th place in stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse on a big summit finish stage; that saw Egan Bernal take over the race lead with two days to go.
Unconventional breakaway success
Bevin spent the day in good company early on as he, Tom Scully and Robert Stannard all infiltrated a large breakaway group. It was a surprising day for the national TT champion, who we expected to be saving his powder for the race against the clock coming up on the final day of racing. But instead there he was mixing it with the lightest and brightest on two wheels.
It was also a day that really didn’t go to script. Typically such a short stage with such a severe climb to finish would result in the GC teams keeping the race under wraps; not so today. “It was just one of those situations where there are 26 riders up the road and we simply needed a rider in the move,” Bevin told us of how he ended up being in the break. “With 2 minutes at the bottom of the climb I didn’t think the win would come from the break and given it’s a short stage with a single climb it can be quite hard to make big gaps.”
“It was just one of those situations where there are 26 riders up the road and we simply needed a rider in the move.”Patrick Bevin explains the reasons behind getting in a break on a mountain stage.
After the stage Bevin explained his approach to climbing like that from a leading group. Speaking from the CCC Team’s website Bevin said, “I am too big so the only thing I can do on a climb like that is ride my own tempo. It’s not often you have the chance to do that but we had a two-minute head start and I have been getting better as the week goes on so I wanted to ride my own tempo until we got caught and I was very surprised that wasn’t until about a kilometre and a half to go when the guys started to fly past us going twice as fast.”
Time trialling today a rehearsal for the finale?
The tempo tactic looked like a bit of a dress rehearsal for two day’s time. Bevin spent most of his time at the front of either the leading group or the chase group. Francois Bidard finally made the attack that cracked the chase group; leaving Bevin to ride to a fine 6th place.
“Once we were there I thought it was worth pushing on and riding it like a TT. I was struggling a bit in the first couple of days and sometimes being part of the race is mentally much easier than getting beaten up day in and day out. So I just pushed on, knew roughly what sort of power I can hold for 25mins and chose not to focus on anyone around me. The changes in pace really hurt me but with some good power numbers the whole way up it took a very long time before we were caught,” Bevin told us.
“…sometimes being part of the race is mentally much easier than getting beaten up day in and day out.”Patrick Bevin explains the psychology of being up the road.
As good as Bevin was on the climb, and he was brilliant in the manner in Tom Dumoulin-like manner in which he climbed, he was unafraid to give high praise to stage winner Antwan Tolhoek. “Antwan was streets above the rest and I knew unless he blew up there was nothing I could do. I wasn’t about to turn the screws and find any more,” Bevin said.
Not ideal prep but Saturday will be an even playing field
Don’t expect too many fireworks this evening as we go to sleep and stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse kicks in; the second of two mountain stages. Unterterzen to St. Gotthard is the task ahead along with 216.6km of road that will take in a 16.7km first category climb before the final 12km HC climb to the finish. Hopefully Bevin will be able to keep his powder dry to a degree before emptying the tank in stage 8.
Any energy left will go into nailing the final 19.2km race against the clock in Goms. Pancake flat in nature expect the time trial specialists to come to the fore over the significantly longer TT than the opening stage. And while Paddy may have pushed it a little in stage 6, he puts himself in the same boat as just about everyone else.
“It’s probably not ideal prep for an ITT in 2 day’s time but the GC guys race day in and day out. Basically it is just giving up that slight advantage of being a bit fresher although tomorrow is going to be very hard on everyone so it’ll probably even the playing field out a whole lot anyway!”