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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 20, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Be content to seem what you really are. - Marcus Aurelius

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Tour of Switzerland stage five team reports:

Here's the organizer's summary:

At Klosterplatz, the majestuous Einsiedeln monastery square, Elia Viviani (ITA / DQT) celebrated his second stage victory in the Tour de Suisse, finishing ahead of Peter Sagan (SVK / BOH), who extended his overall lead up to 14 seconds.

Elia Viviani

Elia Viviani takes stage five. Sirotti photo

On the pavé of the monastery village, the Italian champion left his rivals without a chance. Viviani entered the final turn in the lead and easily held off Sagan, who had to fight back from a distant position at 1500m from the finish.

"In the end, my job wasn’t difficult. My teammates did a perfect leadout for me," said Viviani, who delivered his Belgian team the 39th win of the season. “The mission for my teammates was to bring me into the final corner in first or second position. They accomplished that task to perfection. The quality of my teammates is one of the reasons why I feel so good in this team,” Viviani added. He wants to finish the Tour de Suisse.

“There is no better preparation for the Tour de France.”

Michael Matthews (AUS / SUN) collected two bonus seconds at the Search.ch-intermediate sprint in Gross SZ, bringing the gap on race leader Sagan in the virtual general classification down to eight seconds. At the finish on Klosterplatz, ten more bonus seconds were available for the stage winner but Matthews failed to dethrone Sagan as he only managed a fifth place in Einsiedeln.

Before the Tour de Suisse hits the mountains, Stefan Küng (SUI / GFC) had a go at the stage win. The man from Eastern Switzerland joined a breakaway move with Fabien Grellier (FRA / TDE) and Matej Mohoric (SLO / TBM). The trio went up the road straight from the start but the peloton never allowed the group to gain a bonus of more than three minutes. On the climb to Sattel, Grellier and Küng were unable to keep up with Mohoric. The Slovenian rider continued solo until reaching Lake Sihl but there, on the outskirts of Einsiedeln, his 163km long breakaway move came to an end.

GC leader Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

It was another sawtooth parcours for the riders today, and while there were only two categorised climbs over the course of the stage, the day’s terrain couldn’t be called anything but ‘undulating’. Heading east towards the centre of Switzerland, the riders would see yet more beautiful vistas over the 177km route – the longest of the race so far – but the views brought with them difficult climbs and relentless ascending and descending that would make contesting the predicted sprint finale difficult.

The day’s break made their move early on, forging ahead almost as soon as the peloton left the neutralised zone, a group of three building up a lead of almost three minutes. The peloton was happy to allow this trio to go on ahead, but after passing the halfway point, BORA-hansgrohe took to the front to knock some time off their lead, bringing it down to a little more than a minute, before one of the three went on the attack, going it alone with 38km remaining. Unable to keep up, the remaining two were caught by the peloton as they upped the pace to bring it all back together, and while this solo rider’s lead did go out a little at first, there was no chance of a peloton led by BORA-hansgrohe not making the catch.

With a little under 15km left to race, the break was swallowed by the bunch and it was full speed ahead for the predicted bunch sprint. Staying safe in the streets of Einsiedeln, the yellow jersey of Peter Sagan was up at the front as the final metres came into view. Reading the course well, Peter was one of only two riders to kick at the right time to contest the win, but he was just unable to take the top prize on the uphill slope to the finish line, losing some power on the tight left-hand turn 100m from the line and coming in second. His second-place finish kept the race’s yellow jersey on his back while he also continued to lead the points contest going into stage 6.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan signs an autograph before the start of stage five. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"Today was the last stage of this year's Tour de Suisse with a finish for the sprinters and we would have liked to win it. Once again, I'd like to thank all my teammates for the dedication and effort they put to control the race, protect me and place me for the sprint. I was right behind Viviani in the last left corner but he managed to stay ahead of me until the finish line. I think I can be satisfied with what I achieved so far in this Tour de Suisse and with the performance of our team." – Peter Sagan

"Today's stage had a tremendous pace right from the start. The whole squad did a great job in closing all the early attacks and after the break was formed they went all out to control. Marcus Burghardt was a true locomotive in the first part of the race, his work was remarkable. We neutralised the break, put Peter in a good position for the sprint but Viviani took the win. I think we can be satisfied overall so far, Peter has again the yellow and black jerseys while our climber Patrick Konrad is well placed in the GC ahead of the mountain stages." – Jan Valach, Sports Director 

Egan Bernal looking forward to the big stuff in Tour of Switzerland's sixth stage

Here's the update from Team Sky:

Egan Bernal is excited to tackle the stage six summit finish at the Tour de Suisse after safely coming through the first five days of the race. The Colombian has not raced in the mountains since March’s Volta a Catalunya and is relishing the opportunity to test himself on tomorrow’s final hors categorie climb to Flumserberg.

The eight-kilometre climb - with an average gradient of nearly 10% - will shake up the race’s general classification with a number of sprinters holding the current top spots in Switzerland. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) took stage five in Einsiedeln, ahead of current race leader Peter Sagan (Bora-hangrohe), but that looks like being the last chance for the fast men this week as the climbers take centre stage.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal at the 2019 Paris-Nice

Speaking to TeamINEOS.com, Bernal said: “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. It will be my first mountain stage for a long time. I’m excited.

“I don’t know exactly what to expect. I will just do my best and I don’t know what the result will be. I’ve been feeling good in training but the race is always different. The big goal is the Tour so this race is hard training for that but I hope to go full gas tomorrow.”

Bernal performed strongly in the race’s opening time trial and has been marshalled well in the following sprint stages by Luke Rowe, Owain Doull and Ben Swift. “Today I felt good,” he continued. “The team did a really good job keeping me at the front of the race all day. I saved a lot of energy.”

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