Tour de Suisse 2018: Top of the Portes!

It was a big win for Richie Porte (BMC) as he took the GC in the 2018 edition of Tour de Suisse, a race which shared many traits with last week’s Criterium du Dauphiné, that other Tour de France warm-up race. There was a decisive team time trial, some big climbing battles and some tantalising glimpses of form. Let the recap begin!

Riders of the race

No one rider deserves the rider of the race accolade alone. Why? Because no one grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck and made it their own. There are, however, a few that deserve a special mention.

Richie Porte (BMC) won the general classification and showed he’s sharp in the mountains. He wasn’t afraid to attack and proved he can be very rapid uphill. Yet, Porte’s victory owed as much to time trialling as climbing. He’ll head to France with the confidence he can mix it with the best of them. 

It feels like Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has spent the last four years staring at Chris Froome’s back wheel. Unfair, I know, [I’m not so sure it is unfair – ed] but can you remember the last time he launched a big and significant attack at the Tour de France? This could be the year if his stage-winning assault on stage 7 is anything to go by. He went with 27km to go and never looked back. It was a show of strength and flair that saw the Colombian  win the stage. A display that makes the mouth water thinking about what could happen next month if he races without fear. 

Chris Juul Jensen (Mitchelton Scott) must get a mention. The Dane was in the doomed stage 3 breakaway, then made the break on stage 4 and didn’t get caught. In fact, despite being out front for most of the day, he raced away from the closing bunch to take the stage win. The caveat is the group behind looked dispirited by the bad weather and not massively motivated to make the chase. Still, he won’t care and his victory celebration acknowledging his wife and their child was a thing of joy.

Any other business?

Dress rehearsal: Too often this felt like a Tour de France warm-up rather than a race in its own right. Maybe some of that is the significance we put on it, rather than how the race sees itself. Whatever the reason it felt like a succession of tests rather than a cohesive week-long race with a story of its own. 

Remember me?: Towards the end of stage 2, we saw a bunch of attacks from some of this season’s greatest hits so far. We had Bahrain-Merida’s star of the Alps, Mark Padun; Paris-Roubaix’s Silvan Dillier (AG2R) and the Giro’s Patrick Konrad (Bora) all having a dig. A nice reminder of some of 2018’s memorable moments.

Speaking of the Swiss National champion, he took great delight in finally beating his Paris-Roubaix conqueror on stage 6!

Sagan Watch 1: In winning the second stage of the race, Peter Sagan notched up his 16th stage victory at the Tour de Suisse. He’s won at least one stage in each of the last 8 editions of the race. Not too shabby. 

Sagan Watch 2: The world champion looks ready for the Tour de France. He won the points competition, using his team to control the flatter stages and scooping up all the points he could. Form-wise, Sagan doesn’t appear quite there yet. Being beaten by Michael Matthews of Sunweb in the stage 4 consolation sprint might give him food for thought.

Sagan Watch 3: it’s easy to be all smiles and backslaps when you’re winning…

Less so when Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) has just shown you how it should be done…

Feeling Aqua Blue: You wait months for an invitation to a world tour race, and when it comes… your bikes let you down…

Stage winners

Stage 1 (TTT) – Team BMC

Stage 2 – Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)

 Stage 3 – Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida)

Stage 4 – Chris Juul Jensen (Mitchelton Scott)

Stage 5 – Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates)

Stage 6 – Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Stage 7  Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Stage 8  – Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

Stage 9 (ITT) – Stefan Kung (BMC)

Final GC results

Embed from Getty Images

1 Richie Porte (BMC) 29.38.05

2 Jacob Fuglsang (Astana) +1.02

3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +1.12

4 Enric Mas (Quick Step) +1.20

5 Wilko Kelderman (Sunweb) +1.22

All the jerseys

Embed from Getty Images

Points: Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe)

Embed from Getty Images

Young rider: Enric Mas (Quick Step)

Embed from Getty Images

Mountains jersey:  Mark Christian (Aqua Blue)

See more at the official race website

Header image: ©GETTY/Velo/Tim de Waele 

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