Tour de Suisse Review: Spilak takes victory in TT thrilla

It came down to the the final seconds in the final stage individual time trial for Simon Spilak (Katusha) to outride Sky’s Geraint Thomas by 18 seconds, giving him a five-second GC buffer to become the first Slovenian to win the Tour de Suisse.

Rider of the race

There are a few riders I could have picked for this accolade: Simon Spilak and/or Geraint Thomas, Peter Sagan or Thibaut Pinot, but I’m going to go to the man who topped and tailed this race with victories and held the yellow jersey until stage five, Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin.

Tom Dumoulin Giant Instagram

Tom Dumoulin on the Rettenbachferner (Image: Giant-Alpecin Instagram)

Dumoulin has already shown himself to be an ace TTer – taking the third step of the podium in last year’s World Championships – and the team was targetting this race for him. The plan was for him to win both the prologue and the final TT, which he did, winning today’s stage by 18 seconds over Simon Spilak and 19 seconds over Fabian Cancellara, who had been in the hot seat for most of the day.

Dumoulin may have been targetting the final TT for a stage win, but he also had it in his mind that he could take the GC. Staying in the top ten all week and minimising time damage in the mountains, at the start of the final stage he was only 37 seconds back from Spilak and 50 from Thomas. It was always going to be a big ask to make up all that time and then some to win the GC – but I wouldn’t bet against him in other stage races. This also means that Giant-Alpecin now have a viable stage racer, putting yet more depth into a team that already has super sprinter Marcel Kittel and monuments winner John Degenkolb.

Three other riders we noticed

1. Lord Hoy! Just how big are Peter Sagan’s thighs? Seems that the Velvet Samurai’s triumph at the Tour of California has started his summer as he means to go on, taking victories in stages three and six (the only rider to win more than one stage in this year’s race) and taking home the black points jersey. He has now equalled Hugo Koblet and Ferdinand Kübler with 11 stage wins overall, being pipped to the record-breaking 12th win by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in stage seven. This will certainly give him confidence going into the Tour de France and hopefully keep thickening his skin against the barbed comments being slung at him in the press by team owner Oleg Tinkov. But am I the only one who noticed that his thighs have seemingly grown to twice their normal size? Maybe that Hulk thing a few years ago has some truth to it …

peter-sagan-tour-de-suisse-stage-six-win_Sky

Peter Sagan looking beefy (Image: Sky Sports)

2. Thibaut Pinot, France is proud of you. The great French hope for the Tour de France has shown that he’s getting into form for next month’s test (but not quite there yet). Of course with Froome, Contador, Quintana and Nibali all going to Utrecht with their eyes on the prize, matching last year’s third place looks downright impossible, but considering the frantic first week full of cobbles and echelons, if he keeps his wits about him, who knows how it could all pan out?

3. Domenico Pozzovivo comes out racing. After that horrific crash at the Giro n May, a rider could be forgiven for taking it easy on his return to the peloton. Pozzovivo is not such a rider. He might have still been sporting a bandage over his eye from the crash but he certainly didn’t lose his spirit or fight on that Italian road. Making a noise in the mountains, Pozzovivo finished a fantastic fifth overall.

Pozzovivo Tour de Suisse

A bandaged Pozzovivo in the Swiss Alps (Image: Team Sky)

General classification

1. Simon Spilak (Katusha) 30:15:09

2. Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0:05

3. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) +0:19

4. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +0:45

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) +2:21

6. Bob Jungels (Trek) +2:58

7. Miguel Lopez (Astana) +3:06

8. Steve Morabito (FDJ) +3:17

9. Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) +3:19

10. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) +3:20

Points jersey: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Mountains jersey: Stefan Denifl (IAM)

Best Swiss rider: Steve Morabito (FDJ)

Best team: Sky

Link: Official race website

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