Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse took riders into the mountains and Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing) was the stage victor. 2nd place went to Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) finished 3rd. The overall leaders yellow jersey went the way of Latour.
It was only a short 126km stage from Brig to Cari but with 3 tough climbs, it was certain to be an action packed stage. Natnael Berhane and Kanstantsin Siutsou made sure they were at the helm of it all by joining the 25 rider break that went clear after 20km of racing.
When the break reached the first big climb, Berhane and Siutsou were both looking strong, driving the pace. The peloton was just under 2’00” down as the front group went over the summit. The penultimate climb saw a strong headwind greet riders but this did not stop Berhane from attacking the group. Our Eritrean put in two big attacks and this saw the group reduced to only 7 riders, Siutsou included.
On the descent the weather turned and the rain came pelting down, making conditions somewhat precarious. There was a small split on the descent but by the bottom of the descent, Siutsou ensured that Berhane was brought back to the front of affairs.
The final climb of the stage was the 11.5km road up to Cari. When the 7 leaders reached the base, they only had 1 minute to play with. They would proceed to attack each other relentlessly up until 6km to go, this was when Atapuma would have the final say. The Colombian rode away from Berhane who was the final rider to be able to follow the surge by the BMC rider.
Team Sky were setting a constant pace from the peloton but Atapuma had enough in reserve to just hold them off. The other riders in the break were caught before the finish, Berhane was reeled in with 3.5km to go and ended the stage in 25th place, 2’26” down. It was a courageous ride by our Eritrean Champion, well supported by the experience of Siutsou.
Natnael Berhane – Rider
It was a really tough stage today but it was a good stage. I was feeling really good and happy to have made the breakaway with Kanstantsin. The team helped me a lot to be in a good position to go in the break. First I was away with Anacona and Joe Dombrowski before everyone else came across to us on the first climb. I was really happy with my feeling, the legs were good. In the final climb there was many attacks. I thought Anacona was the strong one so I followed his big attack straightaway. When Atapuma came from behind I followed his attack also but then he went a second time. I am happy with the legs and look forward to trying to go in the break again and try to win a stage.