Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange-Jayco) won the stage 2 time trial at the Tour de Suisse Women to move into the yellow jersey of race leader. The American delivered a fine performance on the 25.6km course around Vaduz to claim victory ahead of her teammates Georgia Williams and Georgia Baker.
Faulkner pitched her effort perfectly on the out and back course in the Liechtenstein capital. She was 8 seconds ahead of overnight leader Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) at the midway point before pulling away inexorably over the latter part of the course.
Brand would finish the stage some 1:07 down in fourth place, conceding the yellow jersey to Faulkner by four seconds.
Faulkner’s teammates Williams and Baker also judged their efforts smartly. Indeed, Williams gained on Faulkner in the closing kilometres but had to settle for second, 14 seconds down, while Baker took third place at 1:03 to complete the BikeExchange-Jayco sweep.
“That was a very painful time trial,” Faulkner said afterwards. “It was a long and I just focused on pacing myself at the beginning, trying to save as much as I could for the headwind coming back.”
As expected, the time trial has redrawn the overall standings dramatically after Brand, Clara Koppenberg (Cofidis) and Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-Sram) had stolen a march on the peloton by gaining 50 seconds in Saturday evening’s short opening road stage in Vaduz.
With two stages remaining, Faulkner is now four seconds clear of Brand, while Williams lies third overall at 14 seconds. Rooijakkers drops to fourth at 34 seconds and Koppenberg – who was caught for two minutes by Brand – is now 11th overall at 2:19.
The Tour de Suisse women continues with a hilly run to Chur on Monday before the race concludes with a summit finish on the category 1 ascent at Lantsch on Tuesday.
“I’m just going to try to race my own race,” Faulkner said when asked about her hopes of retaining yellow all the way to the finish. “I enjoy climbing and we have a queen stage here. I’m going to look forward to that and hopefully do well. But I’ve got to stay calm right now and race the rest of the race.”
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