Fabian Cancellara's retirement opened the door for a new generation of Swiss riders to stake their claim to time trial supremacy, and BMC Racing's Stefan Kung seized the opportunity Thursday on a 38.6km course in Lüterkofen-Ichertswil, taking the Swiss time trial title by 57 seconds ahead of teammate Silvan Dillier.
Kung was all business on Thursday, covering the course in 48:34 and building an advantage of two minutes with just 15km remaining.
"I was feeling good," an understated King said after the podium ceremony. "I was pretty confident in my form. The parcours was really nice and I enjoyed it a lot. I went out quite fast and had a big gap to the other guys so I just kept going. I overtook a lot of guys and, especially at the end, I didn't take a lot of risks. I backed off a little bit in the descents. In the end, I just had to bring it home.
"[The course] had a rolling start and then a 2km climb and then it was slightly down in the valley," Kung said. "It was a real time trial and we had to do the laps twice. Hats off to the race organization for creating such a nice course."
Dillier was also pleased with his performance as he is coming off a hard week at the Route du Sud, where he won the overall.
"It was only a one-hour effort, so it wasn't that bad compared to the Tourmalet stage at Route du Sud last week," Diller said. "The parcours was nice. We had some really good rides. It was an interesting course with some up and down and corners, but nothing too dangerous or nothing too tricky. Still, you had to push hard the whole way. I felt good and I was fresh enough after Route du Sud coming into the championships."
Kung is fresh off the Tour de Suisse, where he wore yellow for a day while riding in support of Damiano Caruso and simultaneously preparing for his first start at the Tour de France. Now he'll take a confidence boost into the Grand Depart in Dusseldorf, where he'll be wearing his new Swiss champion's jersey.
"At the moment I'm taking it day by day," Kung said. "For sure, I'm excited but I cannot imagine now what it will be like. I've spoken to the other guys and they have told me it will be crazy. I'm really looking forward to it."