Caruso Fourth After Tough Summit Finish in Sölden16. June 2017, Sölden (AT) — Road Team
Tour de Suisse stage 7 saw a shake-up of the General Classification for the second consecutive day after a relentless final climb to the Tiefenbach glacier in Sölden, Austria.
For the third day in a row, countless early attacks were quickly pulled back before, 20km into the stage, a group of 18 riders, distanced themselves off the front of the peloton.
By the time the breakaway reached Austrian soil after 50km, of the 160.8km course, their advantage had risen to over two minutes, but it was being kept under control by race leader, Domenico Pozzovivo’s AG2R La Mondiale teammates.
On the long drag towards the base of the hors categorie climb to the Tiefenbach glacier, the gap between the leaders and the rest of the field extended to four minutes.
However, with all eyes on the final climb, the peloton regained control and brought the breakaway to within two minutes with less than 40km to go as riders began to try their luck and attack at the front of the race.
Eventually, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was the only rider left from the early breakaway but the peloton was closing the gap quickly, and on the early slopes of the climb, with 15km to go, the race was back together.
The main bunch was almost immediately reduced with riders quickly dropping back before the final selection of General Classification riders, including Damiano Caruso, was made with 13km to go.
The steep slopes of the climb eventually began to take their toll with the race’s key players spread out across the road before an attack from Simon Ŝpilak made his move. The Team Katusha - Alpecin rider went on to ride solo at the front of the race with Caruso working hard and setting the tempo at the front of one of the many chasing groups behind.
As Ŝpilak went under the flamme rouge, uniquely located inside a 1.7km tunnel, he was still holding onto a lead of around 30 seconds which was ultimately enough to see him take the stage win and move into the leader’s yellow jersey.
Caruso continued to dig deep behind him and crossed the line fourth, 1’04” back, to maintain second overall on the General Classification, 52 second behind the Team Katusha - Alpecin rider.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The climb was really long and steep. From the bottom to the very top, it was an incredible tempo, especially at first when the Team Katusha - Alpecin guys were setting the pace. Simon Ŝpilak was the strongest today, and I tried to follow him, but it was too much for me. I decided to keep my tempo until the finish and then I gave it everything. I am happy because I couldn’t ask any more of myself today.”
“Ŝpilak is a very strong time trial rider as well, but you never know what can happen. There’s still one more big effort to go before the end of the race. Tomorrow I will try to recover and then on Sunday, I will give it everything.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“We did the best climb we could do today. The team was riding really well, and they helped put Damiano Caruso in a good position on the climb. He is climbing super well right now, and it was good to see him manage the race for such a long time. Unfortunately, Simon Ŝpilak (Team Katusha - Alpecin) was a level above today, but Damiano proved he is in top form and it was a really respectable ride from him. We lost some more time today but the race isn’t over, and we will certainly try everything we can over the next two days.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 7: Zernez > Sölden, 160.8km
Top 3: 1. Simon Ŝpilak (Team Katusha - Alpecin) 2. Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain - Merida Pro Cycling Team) 3. Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale - Drapac Pro Cycling Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Damiano Caruso 37. Michael Schär 54. Tejay van Garderen
Route du Sud Stage 2: Drucker Fourth After Solo Effort from Scotson
16 June 2017, Saramon (FRA)
Miles Scotson threatened the predicted bunch sprint on Route du Sud stage 2 today with a huge solo effort in the final 35km of the day before Jempy Drucker finished fourth behind Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
After a flurry of attacks were pulled back by the peloton, Miles Scotson was part of a three-rider breakaway that was able to go clear at the front of the race.
The group’s advantage rose steadily at first before the peloton sat up and allowed them to gain almost seven minutes after 50km, of the 173.8km course.
This prompted a reaction from the bunch behind and over the next 20km, the gap would fall before it settled at around 4’30” over the first half of the stage.
Heading into the final 50km of the day, and with the bunch sprint up for grabs, the chase began to heat up behind and the advantage of Scotson and his breakaway companions was quickly cut in half.
With 35km remaining, Scotson made a move off the front of the early breakaway and went on to ride solo at the front of the race.
The Australian National Road Race champion showed his strength and determination over the closing kilometers of the day and was holding onto an advantage of 1’25” as he approached the 10km to go mark.
The peloton was forced to chase hard behind him, and it wasn’t until inside 2km to go that the race came back together and the sprinters’ teams could begin to organize their final lead outs.
Jempy Drucker was positioned well at the front of the bunch as the final sprint was launched but, in the end, it was Elia Viviani (Team Sky) who found himself at the front going around the final bend before taking the stage win.
After his solo effort on stage 1 yesterday, Silvan Dillier continues to lead the Sprint and Mountain Classifications in France.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“I wanted to have a good crack at the race today. I took yesterday’s stage a little easier with the heat, and the course didn’t particularly suit me. I wanted to be there today, and there was an opportunity for one of us to be in the breakaway. I knew it would be difficult for the three of us to stay away and there was a headwind for most of the day. I tried to play a little bit of a game with the peloton, and I think at about 40km to go, we were sitting under three minutes ahead. I said to the other two guys that we should ride easy for a little bit because I knew they didn’t want to catch us too soon."
"The gap then came down to nearly two minutes, and I wanted to make the peloton think they could back off before I went for it. I actually ended up riding away from the breakaway pretty early so, it was a long solo effort, but I had to go there. I had to start putting in a big effort. I gave it everything I had and Yvon Ledanois was pushing me all the way. For a while, the wind changed, and I thought I might have a chance but after a long day, I knew my chances were becoming slim. I kept pushing all the way and unfortunately, the effort got the better of me, but I think it would have taken something special to hold off the peloton.”
“I gave it everything I had, and when opportunities come up like this, you have to try. You never know what might happen if you don’t give it a go. Even if you get caught, it’s always a good feeling to know that you gave it everything you had.
“With Miles Scotson in the breakaway, it was a bit of an easier day for us in the bunch, and he did a great job riding out at the front of the race all day. In the end, it came down to a bunch sprint and I think my sprint was okay, but I was a little disappointed as I felt I had the legs to do better. Perhaps I was riding in the wind a bit too much in the last kilometer to try and put myself into a good position and in the right wheel. But there is another opportunity on Sunday, so I will try again.”
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
“It was a nice day again for us and the guys stuck to our plan to try and get someone in the breakaway and, if it came down to it, to position Jempy Drucker well for the sprint. Miles Scotson did a fantastic job in the breakaway, and their advantage went out to almost seven minutes before other teams started to pull at the front of the peloton. When Miles attacked at the front of the race, he was instantly 30 seconds ahead, and he was able to ride out in front until 2km to go. He did a really amazing job, and I am happy for him. If you don’t try, you don’t win.”
“From that moment, we started to set up the sprint for Jempy Drucker and eventually he was fourth on the stage. I think he is a little disappointed, but I think we can be happy with how we did as a team today. Tomorrow is a new day, so we will try again. It’s a completely different stage with the Col du Tourmalet, but we will see what opportunities arise.”
Route du Sud
Stage 2: Espace Loisirs Sor et Agout > Saramon, 173.8km
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 2. Carlos Barbero (Movistar Team) 3. Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ).
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 4. Jempy Drucker 13. Floris Gerts 41. Silvan Dillier