Caruso Moves into Second after Wet Finale to Tour de Suisse Stage 615. June 2017, La Punt (SUI) — Road Team
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 Damiano Caruso moving into 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 as BMC Racing Team continued to set the tempo in support of race leader, Caruso.
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.
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 lead the chase behind however the AG2R La Mondiale rider was able to hold onto his advantage to take the stage win.
Caruso crossed the line seventh, 15 seconds behind, but with ten bonus seconds up for grabs on the line, he now sits second overall by just one hundredth of a second.
Daniels Oss was involved in a crash in the first half of the race but he was able to get back on his bike and finish the stage.
Quotes from the Finish Line
"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.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“It was a really hard day. Just like yesterday, the breakaway didn't go until the climb and there were strong guys in there so, we had to control which was hard. We regrouped and Martin Elmiger and Daniel Oss passed over the top of the climb which was great. The guys did another really amazing job today. Rohan Dennis set the pace on the climb and although Oss was involved in a bit of a nasty crash, he was able to come back and could still help the team. It was nice to see the work from the guys again. In the final, it was Greg Van Avermaet, Michael Schär and Tejay van Garderen setting the pace before letting Damiano Caruso go. He did an amazing job. He countered every attack and even had some of the guys on the ropes. On the descent it got a little bit wet and tricky and although Caruso is a great descender, I don't think he wanted to take too many risks.”
"We might have lost the jersey but it's not disastrous. There's almost nothing separating the two guys and now we don't have the responsibility to control. Damiano once again showed that he is in good form and we can look forward to a good show tomorrow. We are certainly not out of the race."
Tour de Suisse
Stage 6: Locarno > La Punt, 166.7km Top 3: 1. Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) 2. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) 3. Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro-Cycling Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Damiano Caruso 40. Michael Schär 45. Greg Van Avermaet
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.