Nico Denz is the winner of the 6th stage up to Moosalp. The German won the sprint of a four-man leading group. The favourites – in hot temperatures – kept their cards close to their chests today and reached the finish together.
Nico Denz had a nervous few minutes wait – while the photo finish was reviewed – before claiming victory. Clément Champoussin almost caught Denz on the line. But in the end it was the German who was all smiles on the podium. “This is my biggest success so far as a professional,” said the man from Baden-Württemberg who grew up near Switzerland, with delight. “Fausto Masnada set an incredible pace and I had a hard time following. But I had excellent information from the support vehicle and I knew that the climb flattens out a bit at the top. That’s why I just kept going. And I also know that I’m not a bad sprinter.” Geraint Thomas, too, is known for his finishing speed. While none of the favourites dared to attack, the Welshman accelerated in the closing metres. However he was unable to open a gap. “Tomorrow will be a different story for sure,” suspects leader Jakob Fuglsang. “The mountain specialists have to make some time up before the time trial. That also applies to me. I don’t know whether a one second advantage over Geraint Thomas will be enough.” The best Swiss was Roland Thalmann in seventh place. Stefan Küng stayed with the group of favourites for a long time but lost the contact shortly before the finish, taking 19th place. Sébastien Reichenbach finished the stage in 27th place.
A day for the mountain men
It didn’t take long for an escape group of 11 riders to break away. Thanks to winning two sprint prizes and taking the classification of Sprint Leader, Michael Matthews joined the breakaway at 35km. At the Nufenen Pass, the highest point of this year’s Tour de Suisse, the leading group were 5 minutes ahead of the peloton. The 12 riders were able to consolidate this lead and take it into the final climb. There two riders, Nico Denz and Fausto Masnada, quickly pulled away from the rest of the leading group. Clément Champoussin, Jose Herrada and Quinn Simmons managed to catch them up. But Nico Denz had the most power in reserve and took victory on the Moosalp. Geraint Thomas led the group of favourites to the finish, 2 minutes 14 seconds behind.
Preview of the next stage
It is one mountain finish after the other as the Tour heads to Malbun. For the second time the Tour starts in Ambri. After the descent to Biasca, the peloton crosses the Lukmanier Pass before continuing through the Vorderrheintal. The icing on the cake awaits as the peloton enters the Principality of Liechtenstein. The final climb to Malbun is considered the toughest test in this year’s Tour de Suisse.