Fast and Furious Circuit Race on Day Eight in Switzerland17. June 2017, Schaffhausen (SUI) — Road Team
At 100km long, Tour de Suisse stage 8 was predictably a fast and furious day of racing with victory coming down to a reduced bunch sprint for the line while Damiano Caruso finished safely to maintain his position on the General Classification with one stage remaining.
The attacks started immediately with four riders going clear and extending an advantage of over 1’30” as they crossed the finish line for the first time in Schaffhausen.
With seven technical laps still to go, all of which included the Alpenstrasse climb, the peloton kept the breakaway under control and never allowed the gap to grown beyond two minutes.
BMC Racing Team were maintaining a good position at the front of the bunch heading into the second half of the day with the pace at the front cutting into the breakaway’s lead with three laps, and 37.5km, to go.
The fierce tempo saw the peloton stretched out in single file as they brought the breakaway into view before making the catch to the sound of bell ringing to mark the start of the final lap.
With the time neutralized at the end of lap seven, the General Classification riders were able to relax, allowing the race for the stage win to unfold.
Michael Schär and Stefan Küng moved up to the head of the bunch and were setting a relentless pace with 10km to go before Greg Van Avermaet launched the first attack from the peloton.
Others quickly followed but, with a bunch sprint up for grabs, they were all pulled back before a hectic battle for position in the reduced bunch began.
Eventually the riders headed under the flamme rouge altogether before a burst of acceleration from Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) with 500m to go saw him take the day’s honors.
Van Avermaet finished in the front group with the eventual winner while, Damiano Caruso finished safely to maintain his podium position on the General Classification, 52 seconds behind Simon Ŝpilak (Team Katusha - Alpecin).
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I was feeling good coming into today and it was a circuit that suited me but it was pretty dangerous. We tried to stay safe at the beginning in the front of the race and then, Michael Schär and Stefan Küng led me out on the last climb so I could try something. I did what I had to do but it was pretty hard to really go for the sprint as everyone was still really fresh and every sprinter was still there. I think it was a good test ahead of July and hopefully I can get some better results then.”
“I am feeling good right now. I always have the same feeling ahead of the Tour de France. Last year at the Critérium du Dauphiné and the year before at the Tour de Suisse. I feel pretty good and I am happy with my form but there is always some more work to be done to be at the highest level.”
“Today was really fast. It was a short stage and the circuit was technical and sometimes dangerous. There were a lot nerves in the peloton. The guys did a really good job for me especially Daniel Oss and Michael Schär. They kept me in a good position all day. I think it was a good decision from the race organizers and jury to neutralize the last lap for our safety. Now it’s time to stay focused for tomorrow.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“Our main objective was to keep Damiano Caruso safe today which we did. The circuit was actually more difficult that I think we expected and it was also pretty dangerous. It's always hard to stay together and stay safe over a course like that and add in the pace we saw today, it was tough for everyone. I think it was the right decision to neutralize the last lap as it took off some of the pressure for the GC guys when everyone is fighting for position. Our guys did a good job today and Greg Van Avermaet looked good when he made his move. Unfortunately it was pulled back but there were a lot of sprinters in the group. Now, we need to look ahead to tomorrow and hopefully we can have the time trial of our lives.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 8: Schaffhausen > Schaffhausen, 100km
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) 2. Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) 3. Matteo Trentin (Quick - Step Floors)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 30. Greg Van Avermaet 52. Damiano Caruso 78. Stefan Küng
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.