Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) won the kickoff to the 77th Tour de Suisse on Saturday.
The nine-day tour began with an 8.1km individual time trial, a flat, out-and-back course in Quito in Ticino that was rendered more difficult in its second half by blustery winds.
A number of riders hit the deck, among them Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling), who remounted to finish 135th, albeit with a shredded skinsuit. Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) nearly laid it down, rocketing into the grass around a sharp right-hander, but managed to keep the rubber side down.
Local favorite Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) could only manage 16th on the day, 22 seconds down, while American GC hopeful Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) crossed 74th at 45 seconds down.
“No results today so I’m somewhat disappointed,” said Cancellara. “In the end when I came to the car I saw I’d done the maximum. I did a great race against the other favorites, but without a result. That’s sport. The luck was not on my side, but I still feel confidence. My feelings were also good — I was riding close to the limit and that’s always important. It was reassuring.”
As for van Garderen, he said he had been “feeling good and … motivated for today.”
“I was thinking it would be a good chance for a result,” he added. “But with the weather conditions, sometimes that’s how it is. … Conditions can change. It’s not like in a normal time trial where the GC guys mostly start together.”
Meyer started early, before the conditions deteriorated, and turned in the winning time of 9:39, 10 seconds better than runner-up Niki Terpstra and 14 ahead of Heinrich Haussler.
A track rider who is making the transition to full-time road racer, Meyer pronounced himself “very happy” to take the win and the first yellow jersey.
“Obviously, I had some help with the weather. The wind was very favorable to me, being one of the first riders off,” he said. “I’m happy, and I will take the jersey, which is very good.
“I’m learning a lot. And now to get a jersey in a WorldTour race — I can’t believe it at the moment.”
Sunday’s second stage takes the peloton over 119km from Ulrichen to the Crans-Montana ski station.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Meyer said. “It will be hard with the final up to Crans-Montana, but we have a good team. I’m confident we can represent the jersey well.”