Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse while Team Qhubeka ASSOS had Domenico Pozzovivo in the GC mix on today’s tough mountain stage, finishing in 8th place.
Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse was a tough 175km mountain stage, which concluded with a summit finish to Leukerbad. The early racing saw a 4-rider break go clear but it was always going to be the final 30km where the race for the stage & GC battle would commence in earnest.
The break was caught ahead of the two tough finishing climbs of Erschmat and & Leukerbad, respectively. Team Qhubeka ASSOS was looking after Pozzovivo for the climbing finale and did well to move him up near to the head of the GC group at the foot of the penultimate climb.
The Tour de Suisse is the first race back for Pozzovivo, after being forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia this year after a nasty crash on stage 6 of the Italian grand tour. While the Italian climber was unfortunate to lose some time in the rain-soaked stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, being caught behind a split on the descent, he certainly bounced back today.
Cresting the penultimate climb with just 15 riders remaining up front, Pozzovivo was putting up a strong fight riding among the race favourites. The final 7km ascent saw Carapaz attack from the Pozzovivo group, crossing a small gap to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
As a few riders would falter in the chase group, Pozzovivo and 5 others pushed on, trying to limit the gap to the leading duo. In the end, Carapaz got the better of Fuglsang at the line with Pozzovivo’s group arriving 39 seconds later.
Taking 8th place on the stage, Pozzovivo also climbed back up the general classification rankings, sitting 10th overall with 3 climbing stages still to come.
Today was the first real mountain stage of the week. It was also the first day the weather changed, from all the rain we have had, today it was quite hot. The feeling for me was much better, I could stay with all the top GC riders and only two guys were in front of us at the end. I am happy with my shape and feel a lot of confidence that we can do something over the next three days.Domenico Pozzovivo