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Live coverage of stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse, 162.8km from Weesen to Amden with a summit finish.
Hello there, and a warm welcome back to Cyclingnews' live race centre. It's stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse today and we're in for a second successive day in the mountains with another summit finish.
Here's what we have in store:
It should be a relatively calm start to proceedings, but we have another heft mountain pass on the menu - after the Furka and Gotthard yesteday - followed by a first-category ascent to the line in Amden.
Another true GC day - but then again that's true of each and every on of the final five stages of this Tour de Suisse.
As we pick up the action, the riders have covered around 15km after rolling out of Weesen under yet more rainfall. No breakaway has formed just yet.
News of another large breakaway - we had 24 yesterday - crackles in over race radio. 15 riders are currently off the front.
Two non-starters to report today: Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff) and Mathias Frank (IAM).
Frank has been struggling with illness since the Tour de Luxembourg and the team have pulled him from the race in order to recover for the Tour de France. We have more on the story in our latest edition of news shorts.
Philippe Gilbert has made it into the break. We'll bring you the full list as soon as possible.
These are our 15 breakaway men
Gregory Rast (Trek-Segafredo), Philipe Gilbert (BMC), Kristijan Koren (Cannondale), Pim Ligthart, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep), Kévin Reza (FDJ), Martin Elmiger (IAM), Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar), Maciej Patkersi (CCC), Nico Brüngger (Roth), Pietr Weening, Antwan Tolhoek (Roompot), Jordi Simon (Verva ActiveJet).
- 130.8km remaining from 162.8km
Just over 30km covered and this break has a lead of 2 minutes 40 seconds, which continues to grow.
Lieuwe Westra (Astana) has abandoned the race. We'll bring you details when we have them.
Antwan Tolhoek has figured heavily in the breakaways so far at this Tour de Suisse, and he's wearing the blue jersey as leader of the mountains classification for his efforts.
The Dutch neo-pro leads the KOM standings by 22 points over yesterday's stage winner Darwin Atapuma, and will be looking to extend his lead at the top of the Klausenpass. His Roompot teammate Pieter Weening, third in the standings, is with him in the break today, as he was yesterday.
You can catch up on yesterday's action with our stage report, complete with results and photos.
The riders are coming to the top of the first climb of the day. It's not a categorised ascent but they'll nevertheless feel it in the legs.
That said, it pales into insignificance when viewed against the towering 26km hors-catégorie Klausenpass.
- 122.8km remaining from 162.8km
The breakaway have drawn their advantage out to over four minutes.
40 kilometres covered in the first hour by the escapees.
Darwin Atapuma clung on yesterday to scrape a victory from the break, but you have to feel the escapees have a real opportunity today.
The GC men may well approach this one with a degree of caution, given the magnitude of tomorrow's stage 7 - the queen stage. It's over 220km long and culminates with the gruellingly steep climb to the high-altitude Rettenbach Glacier.
Breakaway member Martin Elmiger is wearing the jersey for best Swiss rider, which is one of the classifications at this race.
Mathias Frank was comfortably in the lead after yesterday's proceedings but, as mentioned earlier, he has pulled out of the race to recover from illness.
Susan here, taking over for the rest of the stage!
- 109.8km remaining from 162.8km
After 53 km, the gap has jumped to 5:05.
What does the peloton have to look forward to today? Nothing much fun, that is for certain.About haflway through they get the joy of another high-mountain pass, the Klausen, before – somewhat cruelly – they come back through the start town but have to then take on a steep final climb to Amden.
Have we mentioned yet that it is raining? But what else do we expect this year, it seems like it has done nothing but rain for a month or two.....
But seriously, rain and mountains are not a good combination for cyclists.
- 89.8km remaining from 162.8km
73 km into the day, and time to hit the feed zone. Everyone needs to get stocked up and ready to hit that huge climb!
Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) led a project for the CPA (Association of Pro Cyclists) and sent a questionnaire to all participants at the Tour de Suisse, concerning safety issues – specifically, the finish of Tuesday’s stage. They got a great response, and 91% said that the finish was much too dangerous. The CPA will pass this along to race organizers and the UCI – let’s hope they take action!
All having refreshed and strengthened themselves, the riders are now starting their long way up the Klausen-Pass, which is 23,3 km long, with 1437 m of climbing.
In the rain, of course.
Kanstantin Siutsou of Dimension Data has called it quits in the feed zone. He was part of that big break group yesterday.
AG2R has the joy of leading the chasing peloton as it starts up the Klausen Pass -- have to defend that leader's jersey!
And up they all go!
Halfway up the pass, the gap has actually increased -- now up to 5:25.
Lars Boom is the next to abandon the race.
The top placed rider in the break is Jordi Simon Casulleras (Verva Active-Pro Jet), at 6.25 down. Right now he is about 40 seconds out of the virtual yellow jersey, as race leader Latour is back in the bunch at 5:45.
The gap just keeps on growing! Now up to 5:45!
We had hoped that the weather would improve, but it was of course a foolish hope. The Klausen Pass is offering rain, fog and poor visibility.
Please, everyone, let's be careful out there!
Here are some numbers for you: 50 km to go,15 riders with a 6 minute lead, and it is 5°C at the top of the pass. And raining, of course.
Information is a bit scarce at the moment, we will let you know what is happening as soon as we can!
Antwan Tolhoek was the first over the top, so he has picked up some more good KOM points!
- 55km remaining from 162.8km
Less than 55 km to go and the leaders have a 4:54 gap as they tackle the dangerous descent, with lots of rain and fog accompanying them.
The top five at the Pass were Tolhoek, Weening, Simon Casulleras, Gilbert and Ligthart.
Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) has abandoned.
Gilbert and Van der Sande have pulled away from the group.
The lead group has splittered on this wet descent.
Gilbert and Van der Sande have about 25 seconds on the group.
- 39km remaining from 162.8km
The gap for Gilbert and Van der Sande is now up to 41 seconds, with 39 km to go.
There is still another climb to go, as we have a mountaintop finish. The Amden is 8.2 km, with an average gradient of 10.2%. Climb should take just under half an hour. Between the climb and the weather, we can expect some large time gaps at the end of the day.
And another abandonment -- Tiago Machado of Katusha.
We are not seeing any happy faces in the peloton. actually we are not seeing any.
- 33.8km remaining from 162.8km
The lead group has come back togehter, more or less. There are now 13 riders in the lead:
Gregory Rast (SUI/TFS), Philipe Gilbert (BEL/BMC), Kristijan Koren (SLO/CPT), Pim Ligthart (NED/LTS), Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LTS), Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (ARG/EQS), Kévin Reza (FRA/FDJ), Martin Elmiger (SUI/IAM), Jasha Sütterlin (GER/MOV), Maciej Patkersi (POL/CCC), Pieter Weening (NED/ROP), Antwan Tolhoek (NED/ROP), Jordi Simon (ESP/VAT).
The yellow jersey group is back at 8:42.
- 24km remaining from 162.8km
And still 24 km and a closing climb in the rain.
Gorka Izaguirre has attacked out of the peloton and is now the virtual leader. Simon is virtual second.
BMC, Sky and Astana are sharing the lead work way back there in the peloton.
Sutterlin, who was in the break group, was ordered back and is now with Igaguirre.
The peloton has made up a little bit of time, now at 7:56.
The two Movistar riders are making their lonely and wet way through No Man's Land.
Lotto Soudal tells us that Tim Wellens has abandoned the race due to saddle sore and back pains.
We still have the big group up front, with Izaguirre and Sutterlin at 3:51 and the yellow jersey group at 7:02.
And just over 10 km to go.
Nico Bruninger, formerly in the lead group, has now been caught by the peloton.
7 km to go, and the climbing has started again!
Weening has attacked on the final climb!
Weening has pulled away on his way up the final climb. He still has 6km to go.
- 5.9km remaining from 162.8km
Weening has 40 seconds on the group, then the 2 Movistar riders at 3:28, with the peloton at 5:20.
Izaguirre now alone.
Simon Spilak has attacked out of the main group.
Spilak won this race last year.
Izaguirre is not making such good time any more, and the peloton comes ever closer. He still has a good minute and a half on them, though.
It looks like Latour is dropping from his group.
In case you were wondering, it is still raining. Heavily.
- 2km remaining from 162.8km
Two km to go for Weening!
Spilak was unable to stay away and will be caught again momentarily. We can expect more attacks before they hit the finish line.
Weening now has 1:28 over his closest chasers.
Spilak wasn't ready to give up and has attacked again.
We cannot speak of a peloton any more -- just a group of maybe 15 or so.
Izagurre 2:06 behind Weening.
Geraint Thomas is struggling to hold on to his group.
Weening cruises in to the finish line and happily celebrates his victory.
Max Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep), who was in teh break group, takes second place.
Kelderman takes third, and possibly teh race lead!
No, sorry, Maciej Paterski is third.
But Kelderman has claimed the race lead.
Kelderman was fifth, at 4:31 down.
The riders are trickling in to the finish and undoubtedly will do so for a while now.
Latour made up a lot of time on the final climb. He is now sixth overall, only 51 seconds down.
Quite a day for the Dutch here! One Dutch rider won the stage and another has taken over the leader's jersey!
The top ten today:
1 Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton 04:33:37
2 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:02:37
3 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 00:03:57
4 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling 00:04:13
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:04:31
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 00:04:31
7 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin 00:04:31
8 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 00:04:35
9 Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Pro Team 00:04:36
10 Simon Špilak (Slo) Katusha 00:04:39
And the new General Classification after Stage 6:
1 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 22:43:12
2 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:16
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:19
4 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:34
5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:39
6 Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:51
7 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:00:52
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:56
9 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:59
10 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:01:03
Be sure to join us again tomorrow for even more climbing! Yes, Friday is actually the Queen Stage, with a finish atop the Rettenbach Glacier in Austria!