The last four years this race has started out with a short time trial and this year is no difference. The venue has changed from Lugano to Quinto but the distance is more or less the same. This 8.1 km time trial isn’t as hilly as the usually one in Lugano and this will favor the specialists.
The first 6 km are flat with only a few corners but the last 2 km include 300 meters of 7% before the descent and the last flat km towards the line.
It’s a good course for Fabian Cancellara but his shape is uncertain at the moment. He won’t be doing the Tour de France this year and therefore he doesn’t need to be in tip-top condition right now. Still, this is his home race and I’m sure he will do whatever he can to take the first yellow jersey in Quinto. Last year Peter Sagan beat Cancellara in the opening prologue and naturally, the Slovakian wonderboy must be named among the contenders for the stage win.
Sagan was great in Tour of California last month where he won two stages and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins three or four stages in Tour de Suisse again this year. Last year’s prologue favored him with the climb in the middle and even though it's hard to bet against him, I don’t think he will win this stage. Instead look to teammate Moreno Moser. The young Italian was third last year and has high hopes for this stage. Moser will be working hard for Sagan in the coming stages. A win in the opening stage will definitely be good for his moral.
Another strong contender for the win is Alex Rasmussen. The strong Dane won Stage 1 of Bayern-Rundfahrt a couple of weeks ago and seems to be back in good shape after his suspension. This kind of time trials are perfect for Rasmussen and on a good day, he’s fighting for the stage win.
If you are looking for an outsider try Simon Geschke or Cameron Meyer. Geschke ended 5th overall in Bayern-Rundfahrt after a strong performance in the long time trial and actually a short one should suit the German even better. Cameron Meyer is one of my jokers for the overall classification and he’s always good against the clock. I think this time trial suits him very well and starting early his time will probably stand as one of the best for a very long time.
You can see the starting order for the time trial here.
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