Alexander Kristoff powers to win stage 7
Even though today’s stage may have looked as one for the sprinters, many riders knew that a breakaway would have good chances of making it all the way on this undulating course. Therefore, we saw numerous attacks in the opening kilometers. Most notable were a couple of attempts from the world champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx Quickstep). At first he didn’t get away but after 20 km of the stage, the Pole finally succeeded in distancing the peloton together with Daryl Impey (Orica GreenEdge), Axel Domont (Ag2r) and Silvan Dillier (BMC). The riders covered no less than 47.7 km in the first hour of racing.
The quartet quickly got a gap of three minutes. With both BMC, Orica GreenEdge and Etixx Quickstep represented in the front group, it was now up to Tinkoff-Saxo to organize a chase in the peloton if they wanted to set up Peter Sagan for the final sprint. As the gap started to exceed four minutes, the Russian team sent a few riders to the front of the peloton. Their hard work reduced the gap significantly. With 80 km left to race, only two minutes separated the two groups. The distance continued to shorten and as the breakaway crossed the finishing like for the penultimate time, the peloton was just one minute behind them.
After being in the break all day yesterday, Domont couldn’t keep up with his three breakaway companions as they took on the final lap. The Frenchman had to let go and was caught by the peloton soon after. The remaining three riders at the front put up a courageous fight but with less than one kilometer to go, they were all back together again.
Tinkoff-Saxo made sure that Sagan was kept near the front of the peloton at all time. The uphill finish suited the Slovakian very well and his team delivered him perfectly on the last kilometer. Unfortunately for Sagan, he couldn’t follow the wheel of his teammate Daniele Bennati who ended up leading out Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff for the win. Sagan tried to overtake the Norwegian on the final meters but without luck. Today’s win is Kristoff’s second stage win in Tour de Suisse history. In 2013, he won stage 5 - also in front of Sagan.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) still leads overall in front of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). Tomorrow, another very lumpy stage awaits the riders in Tour de Suisse. Four laps on an undulating circuit in Bern could easily shake things up in the general classification before Sunday’s time trial.
Find the results of today's stage 7 here