Tour de Suisse: Stage 6

Pozzovivo wins the stage and with the bonus takes the yellow jersey from Damiano Caruso on stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse

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Tour de Suisse: Stage 6

Stage 6 was the second test for the General Classification contenders at the Tour de Suisse and saw a shake up of the overall race lead with Domenico Pozzovivo taking the lead with the help of the stage win bonus with former leader Damiano Caruso (BMC) ‘dropping’ to second by the smallest of margins.

It was a brisk start to the day with multiple attacks over the opening 30km of the race being pulled back quickly by the BMC Racing Team-led peloton. Eventually, on the early slopes of the San Bernadino Pass, the first of two relentless hors categorie climbs on stage 6, ten riders were able to drift clear at the front of the race.

By the time the breakaway reached the summit of the climb, with 100km to go, they were sitting over two minutes ahead of the main bunch which had been reduced to around 60 riders. Despite the gap increasing to three minutes at the bottom of the descent, the peloton remained in control and steadily the gap began to fall as the road flattened out towards the base of the Albulapass.

As the course started to rise once again, the breakaway had been brought to within 1’30” with riders beginning to attack at the front of both groups with 25km to go. In the end, it was just Michael Woods (Cannondale – Drapac Pro Cycling Team) who remained at the head of the race inside the final 20km while a string of riders sat in between him and the peloton as the race was split to pieces.

The fireworks began behind Woods with 18km to go as Caruso launched the first of several attacks from the select group of General Classification contenders. The immediate increase in speed saw all of the remaining chasers caught just 5km later before Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to bridge across to the leader. After reaching the top of the climb, the riders had to negotiate a tricky drop to the finish line which was made more difficult by the wet roads.

With Pozzovivo sitting 25 seconds back on the General Classification at the start of the day, Caruso continued to chase behind however, getting gapped by a trio ahead (Costa, Izagirre and Frank) while Pozzovivo was able to hold onto his advantage to take the stage win. Rui Costa took second, only 4 seconds behind Pozzovivo whilst Caruso crossed the line seventh, 15 seconds behind, but with ten bonus seconds up for grabs on the line taken by Pozzovivo, Caruso now sits second overall by just one hundredth of a second.
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Round up of reactions

Domenico Pozzovivo “I have been waiting a long time for this: dropping everyone on the climb, bridging up to the breakaway, taking the win…I had a perfect start to the season, and my Giro went very well (6th place). I have had good legs and it was necessary just to have the right mindset in order to do something at the Tour of Switzerland”.

“We made the most of our resources as a team. With Jan Bakelants in the breakaway, that allowed us to hold back a little and save some energy. I will now try to increase my lead in the overall especially since there is a time trial on the final day that really does not suit me.”

Damiano Caruso: “Today, I am really happy with my teammates. The guys did an amazing job. They worked hard all day then, on the last climb, when many riders tried to attack me, I was able to follow every move. Just Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) was able to go alone on the last descent. It was really wet and dangerous and I tried to stick with the rest of the GC guys whilst also not taking too many risks.”

“I lost the jersey but it’s by less than one second so it’s okay. The race isn’t finished yet and it is still really open. I was feeling really good so I wanted to try and make a move on the final climb. Sometimes the best form of defense is to attack.”

Rui Costa: “Despite the really hard climb of the last mountain I was able to stay with the best GC riders” said Rui Costa “the final in descent was quite dangerous due to the heavy rain and we pushed to the limit trying to catch back Pozzovivo. We can’t but I got a good second place. It was important to play an important role to win the stage and to get a better overall ranking possible. Now we have others possibility. We’ll see”.

Mathias Frank (4th) “I know that last descent in the rain very well. And if we were able to ride at the front today, it is also thanks to the mechanics who installed the perfect brake pads on our bikes today for this type of weather! We won the stage, we took over the leader’s jersey, and I am in 5th place in the GC as well. It is a perfect day. Several times over that last pass, I had to climb at my own pace; I could not follow all the accelerations. But I am still very happy with my day. We have a very good team here for the Tour de Suisse, and tomorrow we will have to defend the jersey. We can be proud, and push ourselves to do more.”

Ion Izagirre (3rd) “Today it was a better day for me” says Izagirre “I feel better hopefully. In the beginning of the stage the Team worked very well, putting Cink in the breakaway. So everything was controlled, Gaspa and Tsgabu help me to keep a good position. On the last climb, I tried to go alone, but it was impossible. Finally we tried to catch Pozzovivo in the last km when it started raining, but without success. So the most important thing is that the feelings are coming and we will see to­morrow if we can do better”.

Simon Špilak (5th): “This was a really hard day for me. I was back and forth but I survived. And tomorrow we have a new day. I just suffered all day because it was really warm right from the beginning and I felt this heat in my performance. Finally it cooled off when the rain came, but I almost crashed at the end when I came too fast into one corner on the wet roads. I’m lucky I didn’t go down. But now I’m ready to fight for the podium.”

Stage 6
1. Domenico Pozzovivo AG2R La Mondiale
2. Rui Costa UAE Team Emirates 0:04
3. Ion Izagirre Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
4. Mathias Frank AG2R La Mondiale
5. Simon Špilak Team Katusha – Alpecin 0:12
6. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Damiano Caruso BMC Racing Team 0:15
8. Pello Bilbao Astana Pro Team 0:18
9. Marc Soler Movistar Team
10. Michael Woods Cannondale-Drapac

16. Tao Geoghegan Hart Team Sky 2:22
44. Hugh Carthy Cannondale-Drapac 12.29
58. Mark Christian Aqua Blue Sport 14:49
83. Owain Doull Team Sky 30:11
104. Ryan Mullen Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 35:35
146. Daniel Pearson Aqua Blue Sport 36:13

1. Domenico Pozzovivo AG2R La Mondiale
2. Damiano Caruso BMC Racing Team st
3. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:13
4. Simon Špilak Team Katusha – Alpecin 0:22
5. Mathias Frank AG2R La Mondiale 0:23
6. Marc Soler Movistar Team 0:35
7. Rui Costa UAE Team Emirates 0:54
8. Mikel Nieve Team Sky 1:19
9. Pello Bilbao Astana Pro Team 1:42
10. Valerio Conti UAE Team Emirates 3:02

13. Geoghegan HartTaoTeam Sky 3:45
41. CarthyHughCannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team 26:10
50. ChristianMarkAqua Blue Sport 31:11



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