Australian Cameron Meyer has won the second stage in the Tour of Switzerland, while time-trial specialist Tony Martin of Germany retained the leader’s yellow jersey.
Orica-GreenEdge rider Meyer won a sprint finish ahead of Sky’s Philip Deignan and BMC’s Larry Warbasse as the race headed into the mountains for the first time during the 181.8km ride, which featured two beyond category climbs, from Bellinzona to Sarnen.
“This is a significant win for me,” said Meyer, who admitted he was keen to make amends following a disappointing Giro d’Italia where he was forced to retire after just seven stages.
“I really wanted to bounce back and come back strong in the second part of the season. This is a great way to start that.”
Triple world champion Martin, who won Saturday’s individual time-trial, kept hold of the yellow jersey as he crossed the line with the peloton 14 seconds behind to maintain a six second advantage over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.
Prior to Sunday’s start Italy’s Domenico Pozzovivo, who was fifth after the opening stage, was forced to withdraw with digestive problems and a heavy fever.
Meyer, Deignan and Warbasse were part of an early six-man breakaway group and tackled the ascents of both the Gotthardpass (2093m) and Furkapass (2416m) in cold and wet conditions before Warbasse launched an attack on the day’s final obstacle, the category two Brunigpass, 30km from the finish.
The American was tracked all the way by Deignan, and while Meyer initially fell behind, he soon scrambled his way back to the leading pair on the descent.
With the finish in sight Warbasse went on the offensive, embarking on a final dash to the line but he couldn’t match the kick of Meyer who went on to claim his first win of the season.
“The other two thought I was tired because I had been dropped on the climb, and I was happy to let them think that. They looked at each other more than at me, which was perfect,” 26-year-old Meyer said.
“They sprinted early. I waited. I opened my sprint at 150m to go and passed them both before the line.”
Monday’s third stage is a 206km ride from Sarnen to Heiden that includes three category two climbs.