Stijn Devolder of Team Quick Step was fifth overall in the Tour de Suisse, only 22 seconds behind leader Igor Anton of Euskaltel going into yesterday's mountain stage. The Belgian champion stayed with the group of favourites up nearly until the end, when he broke out and went for the win – but he ended up finishing fifth. In the overall, he moved up to fourth place, but lost more time, putting himself 46 seconds behind the new leader, High Road's Kim Kirchen.
"Stijn tried, but it didn't work out," analysed team director Dirk De Mol on Sporza. "I told Stijn beforehand that he had to wait until the last two to three kilometres, but he went too early. We didn't know this climb, but knew that the last kilometre wasn't so steep. Out of temperament he attacked. Unfortunately he lost 20 seconds, which is too much time."
But De Mol did see a positive point in Devolder's attack. "Now it is proven that Stijn has an excellent condition." He added another bit of criticism, though, saying that he continued to show too much temperament. "I find him to be a fantastic cyclist. But the impulsiveness has to stop. He must learn to better balance things."
The 28 year-old still has a chance in Saturday's time trial, his directeur sportif believed, saying "anything can happen. 46 second is a lot of time, but it is a fight of man against man and Stijn has proved that he can win such things."