With Rohan Dennis, Daniel Oss, Tejay van Garderen and Stefan Küng within the ranks, BMC were billed as one of the favourites and were looking to win their third title in the event. All seemed to be track when the American team posted the fastest time at the second and third checkpoints, but in the technical run-in Sunweb pounced to seal the win by eight seconds. The win completed an incredible double for the Tom Dumoulin-led team after the women's division pulled off a major coup to win their team time trial event earlier in the day.
For BMC the day ended in heartbreak, although the riders were quick to state that they had given everything for the win.
"That was hard. Everyone on the team gave 100 per cent and that's all you can do," van Garderen told Cyclingnews after rolling through the finish line.
"They [ed. Sunweb] were definitely the big surprise of the day. I don't think that many people were talking about them before the race but hats off to them. I don't know why people weren't talking about them. They have a strong team.
"But when you're a team like ours, that's won two gold medals then that's the standard. I'm satisfied but that wasn't the goal coming in."
BMC rolled out along the 42.5km course and posted the third fastest time at the first time check. Early indications suggested that the medals would be split between initial leaders, Team Sky, Sunweb and BMC. QuickStep and Orica-Scott were in the mix but gave themselves too much to do and by the second check at the top of the major climb BMC held a slender three second lead over Sunweb, while Sky had dropped to third.
At the next checkpoint, with less than five kilometers to go, BMC lead had extended their lead to four seconds but with just four riders left and Sunweb still holding their full quota of six, the tide began to turn. BMC had lost Silvan Dillier on the ascent and Miles Scotson soon after and the team began to crack as they hurtled through the final kilometers.
"As we always do, we came here to win gold," Rohan Dennis said after the race.
"It is sometimes a little disappointing to get silver but we're still the second-best in the world here in Norway. Team Sunweb's result is surprising but it also isn't. They have been competitive in everything this year and they had a great team here today."
Jackson Stewart, the team's director at the race summed things up:
"Of course, we're disappointed. We came here to win, and the guys gave it everything they could. It was a really great ride, and we can be happy with our effort and with what we did as a team today, but I think the only result we wanted was the win. We had a conservative pacing strategy, and everything was going according to plan. We had everyone together, and no one was really on the limit, and then we had a few hiccups over the final section. It was a technical course and it was hard to stay together on it.
"I think in the closing kilometers we maybe over-cooked the second to the last turn and we weren't too smooth over the cobbled section. We knew coming into today that the race would be won by the team who made the fewest mistakes. We did the best we could, and it was really just the final four kilometers that didn't go our way."
In those kilometers van Garderen briefly dangled a wheel's length off the back of the BMC train. The American was late replacement in the team after Manuel Quinziato retired from professional cycling earlier in the week. Van Garderen had finished strongly in the Vuelta and was the team's first-reserve for the Worlds.
"There's not much you could really do between the Vuelta and now, but coming in late might not have been the best preparation, but I felt pretty decent out there today. I was just missing a bit there in the last four kilometers or so. We all gave it 100 per cent and that's all I can say."