Tour de Suisse 2017: Spilak reigns supreme

It’s the Tour de Suisse and, as usual, we’ve enjoyed beautiful scenery, a variety of stage winners and leader’s jersey wearers, riders scrapping to secure their Tour de France slots, yet more Peter Sagan stage wins and, more importantly, a hard-fought nip-and-tuck battle for the overall win (for the second time) by Simon Spilak. After steadily gaining ground in the days leading up to Friday’s queen stage, he struck out solo with 8km remaining to take both stage victory and the leader’s jersey with nearly a minute’s advantage, which he held over the next two stages. Damiano Caruso, who wore the leader’s jersey for two days, and Steven Kruijswijk rounded out the final podium.

Rider of the Race

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Despite the ebb and flow of stage winners and jersey wearers over the nine stages, this was an easy pick for me. On stage 4, on a mostly flat first half from Bern to the mountain finish in Villars-sur-Ollon, Larry Warbasse, an American rider on ProConti squad Aqua Blue Sport, broke away with three other riders after two kilometres and built an advantage of more than seven minutes. On the slopes of the final 10km climb, Larry dropped the last of his break-mates, cutting a lone yet determined figure as he battled both gravity and the now-fractured, fast-advancing small group of contenders. Within the last kilometre, the gap was under a minute but Larry knew the day was his and, urged on by the crowd (and unbeknown heavy support on Twitter), he gave one last surge to solo victorious across the line, arms aloft to record his and his team’s first ever WorldTour victory. How good was that? It was EPIC!

Prior to the departure of stage 4, having spent three weeks training at altitude beforehand, Larry was feeling confident, sure his climbing legs wouldn’t let him down. He even told his team-mates he intended to go for the win, and came good on that promise.

Post-race Larry wept  – as did we all – as he said:

It’s my first victory in my career – it’s amazing I love this race, I love Switzerland. I was on IAM Cycling the last two years, and it’s one of the most beautiful countries and I have so many great memories here. Today I felt like it was my home race. I’ve never had so many people cheering for me, everyone was yelling my name. I’m really happy. As soon as I got in the breakaway, I knew – I told everyone yesterday, I worked really hard the whole last season – I always give 110 per cent, I’m just so happy it finally paid off.

Seems the peloton and Twitter agreed with me as there was universal approval of Larry’s maiden win!

Unusually, I’m going to let Larry have the last few words!

A fine Bromance!

Aqua Blue’s Tour de Suisse doesn’t start and finish with Warbasse. Lasse Norman Hansen took home the King of the Mountain’s jersey after besting Roompot’s Nick Van Der Lijke on the penultimate day’s superfast 100km, eight lap, full speed sprint around the outskirts of Schaffhausen, which gave him an unassailable 9pt lead. Not too shabby for a former Olympic champion, more at home on the track than in the mountains. The Tour de Suisse mascot seemed to agree as he, once again,  enthusiastically embraced Lasse.

Fresh Faces

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The race often confirms promise shown by new and newish faces in the earlier part of the season and this edition was no exception. Movistarlet Marc Soler (23) finished eighth overall, courtesy of three top-ten stage finishes, underlining the promise he’d shown as a neo-pro and his third-place finish in this year’s Volta a Catalunya.

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A little further down the GC we find Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky) who finished 14th despite riding in support of teammate Mikel Nieve. In his first year with Sky, he’s also finished eighth on GC at Amgen Tour of California. Tao was one of VeloVoices original #youngdudes whom we interviewed  back in 2013.

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Rider of the race last year, defending champion Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) sadly crashed out on the descent from the Simplon Pass on Stage 5. Fortunately, he avoided any major injures, just a fractured right thumb.

Le roi de Suisse

Two stage victories this year, taking his total to 15 since 2011, ensured Peter Sagan retained his title of the undisputed king of the Tour de Suisse. He also debuted a new Hawaiian-style celebratory salute ahead of the Tour de France where he’s odds-on favourite to secure his sixth consecutive green jersey.

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Final result

1 Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin) 28:37:11

2 Damiano Caruso (BMC) +0:48

3 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:08

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) +2:37

5 Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) +3:09

All the jerseys

Points Jersey: Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

King of the Mountains Jersey: Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport)

Best Swiss Rider: Matthias Frank (Ag2r)

Team Classification Leader: Ag2r La Mondiale

Stage winners

Stage 1: Rohan Dennis (BMC) Final KM here

Stage 2: Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) Final KM here

Stage 3: Michael Matthews (Sunweb)  Final KM here

Stage 4: Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport)  Final KM here

Stage 5: Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)  Final KM here

Stage 6: Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale)  Final KM here

Stage 7: Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin) Final KM here

Stage 8: Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) Final KM here

Stage 9: Rohan Dennis (BMC) Final KM here

Links:  Race Website

Header: Tour de Suisse 2017 final podium (©GETTY / Corbis/ Tim de Waele)  

2 thoughts on “Tour de Suisse 2017: Spilak reigns supreme

  1. Pingback: Final KM: Tour de Suisse Stage 9 | VeloVoices

  2. Pingback: VeloVoices Podcast 105: I want to be Peter Sagan’s baby! | VeloVoices

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