One stage victory just wasn’t enough for Matthias Brändle(IAM Cycling). The Austrian rider perfectly orchestrated his second during stage 6, just 24 hours after his first at the Tour of Britain. For a rider who often spends his time working for others, two in as many days came as quite the shock.
“I was coming to the Tour of Britain wanting to do a good race, now I have two stage wins. It’s unbelievable for me that they let us go today,” said Brändle.
Yet again, Brändle showed that he has an ability to read races beyond his years. On Thursday, the 24-year-old timed his attack on the final climb to perfection. A day later, he couldn’t have played it better as he not only picked the right time, but made sure to bring along the right rider.
“I had the feeling that Omega Pharma were really on the limit. I spoke to Dowsett in that moment and said that we need to keep attacking. The next move that went we got away,” he said, as if it was as simple as choosing what to wear that morning. “You have to have the feeling about when the peloton doesn’t want to attack any more. I had the feeling that everybody was tired, everyone wanted to stop and then it was the time to move.”
One thing Brändle couldn’t have accounted for was Omega Pharma-QuickStep getting their timings totally wrong. The stage was expected to be one of the easiest of the week and should have ended in a bunch sprint. However, the Belgian team let the time balloon out to an unmanageable gap of nine minutes. With almost half the stage remaining, Brändle was beginning to sniff stage win number two already.
“I was really surprise, because four or five minutes it would be a really hard fight in the end, but they gave us nine minutes. It was Alex and me in the front. I don’t know what you’re thinking,” he said. “In 10 kilometres you close one minute, so when the gap was nine minutes and there was only 80 kilometres then for me it was clear that, if we went on at that speed and didn’t break down, that we would make it to the finish.”
So, will he try to make it three out of three? Brändle wasn’t totally adverse to the idea. “Today I had to go deep into reserves. I don’t know what is tomorrow. I also didn’t expect to have such a good week, so I don’t know we will see.”