Richie Porte replaces Stefan Küng
During the first uphill finish of the stage race in Leukerbad, Stefan Küng stood tall for a very long time but at 4 km from the finish, the rider from Thurgau had to let go of the group. Earlier, during the ascent to Montana, Küng - wearing race number 13 on his back - encountered bad luck when a rider touched his rear wheel which forced him to switch bikes. Küng was on his own to fight his way back towards the peloton and wasted a lot of energy. Possibly, the Swiss rider lacked that energy during the final ascent. At the finish line, the deficit for Küng was up to 3:23.
During the first part of the final climb, Küng was still riding just behind Richie Porte. The Australian: “He told me that he’d enjoyed better days.“ Porte, who’s riding his maiden Tour de Suisse, said he was delighted to take over the leader’s jersey. “It’s a nice reward for me. This is a well respected event and of course I’m riding for a Swiss team too.” Wouldn’t it have been better to have taken the jersey by the team at a later part of the race? Porte: “No, it doesn’t change a lot. We have to race anyway…!” And there’s still another maillot jaune which Porte hopes to capture, the one at the Tour de France in July.
The headwind in the final kilometres made the finish even harder and a late attack from unlucky Mikel Landa (MOV/ESP) fell just short at 200 m from the finish line. “After the attack from Landa I thought for a while that we wouldn’t be racing for the victory,” confessed Diego Ulissi (UAE/ITA) after capturing the 30th win of his career. The Italian was pleased to have won the uphill sprint in Leukerbad for more than one reason. “For five years I’ve been living in Lugano and furthermore, the Tour de Suisse holds a status as a big international race.” Within his UAE Team Emirates squad, Ulissi is also the dedicated rider to target the general classification. “With a bit of luck I’ll be ranked in the top-10. It’s not possible for me to battle for the overall victory. There are opponents who are faster than me on the climbs and when racing against the clock."