The course was nice with the majority on forest roads but there was also some good single trail. A start loop and then a big loop with the longest climb and then two laps of a shorter finishing circuit were the format with a total distance of 28km.
Round the start loop I stayed out of trouble near the front and then surged a bit to take the lead as we headed out onto the big first lap. For a while I held a small lead over a group of about five riders and was considering easing off and letting them catch up as I was just dangling off the front and not really making much progress. However the race favourite Martin Fanger made a move and although I was unable to hold his wheel no one else came up with him so I was confident that I was stronger as they would almost certainly be up there if they were fast enough. Martin slowly eased away and with so much road riding on the course I wasn’t too disappointed when I was joined by local Road/MTB racer Nicolas Luthi. We worked well together although I did most of the pace setting as I was keen to keep away from the chasing pack and was also using the day as a hard training session.
Over the last quarter of the race I attacked several times but found it hard to hold any decent gap and each time Nicolas was able to come back. Realising I wasn’t going to be able to get away and it was most likely going to end in a sprint I slowed up a bit and he had a go at attacking me. I now had his wheel and was fairly confident I would be able to match him in the finish. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, he kicked harder and I had to settle for third.
I am much more satisfied with this result. I still have a bit of work to do but I am on the right track. I am racing again next weekend at the BMC Racing Cup in Solothurn which will be a final hit out before my main target for this trip, the two World Cup rounds in May.