Having endured a season that has rarely reached great heights thus far in 2010, BMC Racing’s Marcus Burghardt had something to smile about when he triumphed on yesterday’s fifth leg of the Tour de Suisse.
The 26-year-old German clipped away with Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Transitions), Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo), Angelo Furlan (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Francisco Javier Aramendia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) after 10km of racing before jumping clear of the first two of those breakaway companions with just over a kilometre left in the 172.5km stage.
Burghardt’s win is his first of the season, and the third in 2010 by his BMC Racing Team. It was a fine performance made all the more worthy by the desperate weather the riders faced, yet he admitted after the stage that he didn’t have a lot of faith in himself prior to the start of the ProTour event.
“This is a big satisfaction for me because I was injured at the Tour of California,” he told journalists at the post-stage press conference. “Even four days before the start of this race, my participation was not certain. I had done a lot of training [after recovering from his injury] but it is hard to properly simulate racing. However, we took the decision that I would do the Tour the Suisse.”
That decision clearly worked out well. He said that he was very motivated to do something. “I wasn’t sure what my form was like but I was full of motivation.”
The parcours and the weather both played into the favour of the riders in the break. The bunch’s morale was bruised thanks to the rain and cold, and that gave enough of an opportunity to those in the move for them to stay clear.
Burghardt said that he had a hunch that things might go well for those willing to take a chance. “I looked at the route profile and thought that there would be a very good chance for a breakaway,” he said. “After ten kilometres of racing, it was the decisive attack of the day.”
The victory is one of the biggest of his career, and follows on from his triumph in the 2007 Gent-Wevelgem and a stage victory in the 2008 Tour de France.
He’ll take satisfaction from that, and also from the fact that he lives and trains in Switzerland. He became interested in taking up residence in the country after a period of training there in 2006 with Stefan Wesemann.
Burghardt first moved into an apartment in Steinmaur, near Zurich, but has since changed to Tägerwilen, on the shores of Lake Constance. And while his win today is satisfying in itself, it's also a big boost to his morale prior to the Tour de France.