After a day in the break Patrick Bevin of CCC Team has finished sixth in the first summit finish stage of the Tour de Suisse. Antwan Tolhoek of Jumbo-Visma claimed the stage honours, with Egan Bernal of Team Ineos moving into the overall lead.
Just 120.2km in length, the roads between Einsiedeln and Flumserberg made up for their lack of distance with plenty of punch in the closing kilometres. The stage featured just two climbs, but it was the second and final one to the line, 8.5km in length and averaging 9% that was always going to be decisive.
Huge break dictates short stage
A huge breakaway was allowed up the road that swelled to 25 riders in all. Importantly for New Zealand, Tom Scully of EF Education First, Patrick Bevin of CCC Team and New Zealand’s favourite Aussie in Robert Stannard of Mitchelton-SCOTT were all in the move that boasted no shortage of firepower. Rui Costa and Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates were both present, so too Daniel Oss of BORA-Hansgrohe, Matej Mohoric of Bahrain-Merida and Ben King of Dimension Data.
30km from the line the break’s lead stood at 4.12mins over the peloton, with Matteo Trentin of Mitchelton-SCOTT, Claudio Imhof of the Swiss National Team and Colin Joyce of Rally UHC ahead of the rest of the break that were hampered by briefly taking a wrong route. But by the time the race reached the climb it was all back together among the break and Ben King took up the initial pace-setting duties.
It quickly became apparent that Luis Mas of Movistar, Antwan Tolhoek of Jumbo-Visma and Patrick Bevin were the strong riders in the move as they emerged at the front of a fracturing break. The rest of the group were well and truly strung right out down the road and the peloton were in hot pursuit and led by Team Ineos.
Bevin sets strong tempo outside of natural habitat
With 4.5km to go Bevin, Tolhoek and Mas had a lead of 1.19mins over the peloton but their allegiance would end with an attack from Tolhoek with 3.2km to go. He quickly put distance between himself and his two former companions while Bevin and Mas were joined by Rui Costa and Francois Bidard of AG2R La Mondiale.
Impressively it was Bevin who continued to set the tempo in the chase group, calling on his ability to simply set tempo to great effect as Mas was dropped from the group and the race reached its final 2km. Bevin was receiving no support from Costa or Bidard but it didn’t seem to faze him as he simply concentrated on the job at hand.
1.5km from the finish Tolhoek’s advantage over the Bevin group was at 30 seconds, with the peloton at 1 minute in arrears. It was here that the fuse was lit by Kenny Elissonde of Team Ineos in the bunch as he went full offensive to try and crack the GC contenders for Egan Bernal. It was a terrifying turn of pace that made light work of the gap between them and the Bevin group and put Tolhoek’s stage win under serious threat.
Under the 1km to go banner the gap to Bevin and co hadn’t grown any further, but Bernal was at full flight, catching and passing Bevin, Costa and Bidard at the 1km to go banner and going in pursuit of the stage win and overall race lead. The final kilometre was the undoing of Bevin from the chasing group as Bidard dug deep to try and get across to the Colombian who’d just flew past him.
Tolhoek was looking in a world of pain in the final kilometre but he managed to dig deep and secure the win, 17 seconds ahead of Bernal whose consolation was the overall lead by 12 seconds from Rohan Dennis, with Patrick Konrad of BORA-Hansgrohe up to third.
Bidard took third on the stage with Jan Hirt of Astana and Domenico Pozzovivo of Bahrain Merida just edging Patrick Bevin for a top five finish. Bevin took sixth, a tremendous result at the end of a big day in the break; 38 seconds behind Tolhoek.
|Rank||First Name||Last Name||Country||Team||Result|
|1||Antwan||TOLHOEK||NED||TEAM JUMBO – VISMA||2:43:34|
|2||Egan Arley||BERNAL GOMEZ||COL||TEAM INEOS||+17|
|3||François||BIDARD||FRA||AG2R LA MONDIALE||+24|
|4||Jan||HIRT||CZE||ASTANA PRO TEAM||+29|
|5||Domenico||POZZOVIVO||ITA||BAHRAIN – MERIDA||+31|
|7||Rui||COSTA||POR||UAE TEAM EMIRATES||+44|
|10||Patrick||KONRAD||AUT||BORA – HANSGROHE||+46|
|22||Robert||STANNARD||AUS||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||+01:39|
|104||Sam||BEWLEY||NZL||MITCHELTON – SCOTT||+11:43|
|125||Tom||SCULLY||NZL||EF EDUCATION FIRST||+15:44|