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Complete Live Report
Live coverage of the shortened final stage of the Tour de Suisse, 57 kilometres from La Punt to Davos, by way of the Flüela Pass.
The rumours were right: there are low temperatures, snow and poor visibility atop the Albula pass, and so the final stage of the Tour de Suisse has been shortened to just 57 kilometres. The start was moved forward to La Punt, avoiding the Albula Pass, but the peloton will still face the tough, 12.7-kilometres climb of the Flüela Pass before the drop to the finish in Davos.
The very reduced Tour de Suisse peloton - Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) was among the riders to pull out after yesterday's stage - is flagged away from the start in La Punt, and ambles through the hastily improvised neutralised zone.
There are four riders within 18 seconds of one another atop the overall standings, with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) in the yellow jersey after his fine time trial showing yesterday. The GC picture is as follows ahead of today's truncated stage:
1 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 29:32:03
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:08
3 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:16
4 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:18
5 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:00:52
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:01:21
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:26
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:30
9 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:01:31
10 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:02:09
- 57km remaining from 57km
The flag is dropped and there is an immediate injection of pace at the head of the peloton. Like the snow-shortened stage to Sestriere at the 1996 Tour de France, where Bjarne Riis turned the race on its head in the space of 46 kilometres, we can expect an explosive hour and a half or so of racing this afternoon.
Our lone climb begins after 26 kilometres of today's short stage, and then there are just 17 kilometres from the summit to the finish in Davos.
- 54km remaining from 57km
The Etixx-QuickStep duo of Max Richeze and Fernando Gaviria attempt to steal off the front early on, in a bid to snaffle the sprint points on offer at the 12- and 20-kilometre marks respectively.
- 52km remaining from 57km
There's a searing tempo to these early exchanges as the Etixx-QuickStep duo are pegged back. Michal Golas (Sky) attempts to punch his way clear in five-man group but they, too, are pegged back.
Astana are trying to maintain some semblance of control at the head of this peloton as the attacks continue to fly in. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) drives off the front, with Richeze - eager to snaffle the points jersey from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) - joining him.
- 50km remaining from 57km
Stuyven and Richeze are joined by Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-GreenEdge), and this trio has opened a small gap over the peloton.
The battle for final overall victory is essentially a four-way tussle after yesterday's short Davos time trial brought real definition to the overall standings. Lopez has three riders to mark this afternoon: Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) is just 8 seconds back in second place, and Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) is up to third, 16 seconds back, after his fine time trial win yesterday. Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) remains a real threat, lying 18 seconds down in fourth place.
- 45km remaining from 57km
Richeze duly takes the maximum six points at the first intermediate sprint to give him an unassailable lead ahead of Sagan in the points classification. Our three leaders have a gap of 16 seconds over the peloton.
There's a hyperactive pace at the head of the peloton, with Golas trying to slip away once again, this time in the company of Kevin Reza (FDJ) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi). They are in the no man's land between the peloton and the three leaders.
It's a slightly downhill run from La Punt to the base of the Flüela Pass, and both the escapees and the peloton are proceeding at an impressive rate of knots in these early kilometres.
- 40km remaining from 57km
Magnus Cort, Stuyven and Richeze have stretched their lead out to 20 seconds, but on a stage as short as this, there is unlikely to be any let up from the main peloton's efforts.
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) finished 7th overall at the Tour de Suisse as a neo-professional. Twelve months on, he is on the cusp of victory and he declared himself "ready for war" on today's final leg. His Astana team are leading the peloton, 35 seconds behind the three leaders.
- 37km remaining from 57km
Richeze leads the break through the second intermediate sprint. The escapees have a lead of 40 seconds over the peloton but one senses they're on a hiding to nothing - the road starts climbing in less than 10 kilometres' time, after all.
Astana, meanwhile, have brought a semblance of organisation to the head of the peloton. The Golas move has been pegged back, and Lopez's teammates are happy to let the break's lead yawn out to 50 seconds for now.
- 34km remaining from 57km
That said, the battle for position at the base of the Flüela Pass has already begun. Laurens ten Dam is on hand to guide his Giant-Alpecin teammate Warren Barguil and delegations from Movistar and LottoNL-Jumbo are moving Izaguirre and Wilco Kelderman into position.
Andrew Talansky moves up, too, ensconced in a phalanx of Cannondale jerseys, while IAM Cycling - in their final Tour de Suisse - are offering their help to Jarlinson Pantano, who lies 5th at 52 seconds.
- 30km remaining from 57km
Magnus Cort Nielsen, Richeze and Stuyven begin the Flüela Pass with a lead of 47 seconds on the peloton. 13 kilometres in length with an average gradient of 7.4% and slopes in excess of 10%, this climb - and its descent - will decide the Tour de Suisse.
Leaden drops of rain fall as the peloton hits the Flüela Pass, with rider after rider jettisoned out the back as the gradient begins to bite.
Giant-Alpecin take up the reins at the base of the climb in support of Bargui, but surely none of the GC contenders will expose themselves at this early juncture, especially when the margins are so tight - and when there are time bonuses at the finish...
- 29km remaining from 57km
Dmitrii Kozonchok (Katusha) attacks from the yellow jersey group and gains a small gap. Up ahead, meanwhile, Stuyven has forged clear alone, dropping Richeze and Magus Cort Nielsen.
- 28km remaining from 57km
Talansky, Izaguirre, Kelderman, Barguil, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) are all clustered around Lopez at the head of the yellow jersey group, which has pegged back and promptly dropped Kozonchok.
Michele Scarponi (Astana) sets the tempo on the front of the reduced peloton with Lopez tucked on his rear wheel.
- 27.5km remaining from 57km
Scarponi is the only Astana rider with Lopez in this group. Izaguirre, by contrast, has more numerous support from his Movistar teammates, for now at least.
- 27km remaining from 57km
David Lopez (Sky) accelerates from the yellow jersey group. The Spaniard swiftly shuts the gap to Stuyven and then breezes past him. There is no reaction from behind, with Scarponi content to tap out a steady tempo for his leader Miguel Angel Lopez.
Scarponi's pace-setting has whittled the yellow jersey group down to 25 riders or so, and they remain within sight of lone attacker David Lopez.
- 26.5km remaining from 57km
Darwin Atapuma takes over at the head of the yellow jersey group with his BMC teammate van Garderen on his wheel, and they have injected some urgency into the pace.
Atapuma and van Garderen have each won stages this week, and BMC have made their intentions clear here with this upping of the ante.
- 25.5km remaining from 57km
Atapuma accelerates sharply off the front of the peloton with van Garderens blessing. The Colombian looks to be pulling a small group clear with him.
- 25km remaining from 57km
Scarponi takes over once again in support of Miguel Angel Lopez, and the veteran Italian immediately clips back the Atapuma group's advantage. The yellow jersey group contains just 25 riders or so, but all of the top ten riders on GC seems to be accounted for here.
- 24km remaining from 57km
Scarponi has successfully paced the yellow jersey group back up to Atapuma et al. David Lopez, meanwhile, remains out in front alone, with a lead of 20 seconds.
There are still almost 7 kilometres of climbing remaining and, understandably, Miguel Angel Lopez, Talansky, Izaguirre and Barguil are content to bide their time for now. The pace remains brisk in the yellow jersey group, mind.
- 23km remaining from 57km
Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacks from the yellow jersey group and bridges across to David Lopez.
A trio of Katusha riders move to the front of the yellow jersey group. Geraint Thomas (Sky) has seemingly been distanced and Simon Spilak is determined to take advantage, it seems.
- 22.5km remaining from 57km
Spilak duly attacks from the yellow jersey group and bridges across to Dupont. David Lopez, meanwhile, has sat up.
Rui Costa and Jarlinson Pantano join Spilak at the head of the race as Dupont shows signs of suffering.
- 22km remaining from 57km
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) takes matters in hand himself. The Colombian climbs out of the saddle and cruises across to Dupont, Spilak, Pantano and Rui Costa. This quintet has a lead of 15 seconds over the remains of the peloton, which includes Izaguirre, Talansky and Barguil.
- 21.5km remaining from 57km
Van Garderen also manages to bridge up to the leaders, replacing the struggling Dupont in the five-man group at the front.
- 21km remaining from 57km
Miguel Angel Lopez, van Garderen, Rui Costa, Pantano and Spilak have a lead of 17 seconds over the chasers, which include Talansky and Barguil
- 20.5km remaining from 57km
And then there were three. Miguel Angel Lopez turns the screw once again and only Pantano and van Garderen can follow.
- 20km remaining from 57km
The three leaders have 20 seconds in hand ove the reduced chasing group, which has picked up Rui Costa and Spilak. Talansky, Izaguirre and Barguil are all present, but they are unable to make inroads into Miguel Angel Lopez's advantage.
- 19.5km remaining from 57km
Talansky has Joe Dombrowski for company and Izaguirre has Winner Anacona. Their efforts are keeping the leaders' advantage at 19 seconds.
After some initial reticence, van Garderen has taken some token turns at the front with Lopez. With a shade over two kilometres of climbing remaining, they are 18 seconds clear of the chasers.
- 19.2km remaining from 57km
Miguel Angel Lopez attacks alone on reaching the snow line. Pantano remains resolutely locked to van Garderen's wheel, and the American has no reaction to Lopez's acceleration.
- 18.7km remaining from 57km
Lopez has 10 seconds in hand over van Garderen and Pantano as he enters the final kilometre of the climb, and he betrays few signs of struggling. Talansky, Barguil et al are some 30 seconds down. Spilak and Kelderman, incidentally, have been dropped from that second chasing group.
- 18km remaining from 57km
Lopez continues to pad out his advantage as he solos through snow-banked roads, untroubled by the flecks of icy rain that are falling. Lopez has 25 seconds in hand on van Garderen and Pantano, and 40 seconds on Talansky and the rest. Barring mishap, the Colombian is about to win the Tour de Suisse.
- 17.3km remaining from 57km
Miguel Angel Lopez crests the summit of the Flüela Pass alone and takes on a rain jacket before tacking the descent.
Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) bridges across to van Garderen and Pantano near the summit. They reach the top 30 seconds down on Lopez. Talansky and comapny reach the same point 45 seconds behind.
- 15.5km remaining from 57km
The rain falls a bit more heavily on the descent of the Flüela Pass, but Lopez safely negotiates the early bends and appears to be holding his advantage.
- 14km remaining from 57km
Sergei Chernetckii (Team Katusha) and Victor De La Parte (CCC Sprandi) are also in the first chasing group with Pantano, Izaguirre and van Garderen. They trail Lopez by 27 seconds. Talansky and Barguil are 46 seconds down.
As it stands, Lopez will win the Tour de Suisse and Izaguirre will move up to second overall. Pantano, meanwhile, has a faint hope of dislodging Talansky from a podium berth. It might all come down to which chasing group collaborates more smoothly once the road flattens out in the final four kilometres.
- 11.5km remaining from 57km
The van Garderen-Izaguirre group moves to within 19 seconds of Lopez. Talansky and Barguil are 42 seconds down.
- 11km remaining from 57km
Lopez won't want to take any risks with Tour de Suisse overall victory all but assured, but he won't want to ride so conservatively as to sacrifice a stage win either. His lead is down to 15 seconds, however, as van Garderen puts in a big turn at the head of the chase group.
- 10km remaining from 57km
Barguil and Rui Costa have manage to extricate themselves from Talansky and are closing in on the van Garderen group on this descent. Talansky appears to be in the process of losing his spot on the podium.
- 8.5km remaining from 57km
Lopez is caught by van Garderen, Pantano, Izaguirre and Chernetcki. They have 15 seconds over Barguil and Rui Costa, while Talansky chases at 45 seconds.
- 7km remaining from 57km
Izaguirre is just 16 seconds behind Lopez overall - the Basque will surely take a flyer to try to test the Colombian on the run-in...
- 6km remaining from 57km
Izaguirre duly hits the front of the yellow jersey group. Lopez dives for his wheel, followed by Pantano, van Garderen and Chernetckii.
- 5km remaining from 57km
Talansky has Dombrowski for company and they are 45 seconds behind these five leaders, with Barguil and Rui Costa somewhere in between.
- 3.5km remaining from 57km
Pantano attacks from the yellow jersey group as the road flattens out. Izaguirre pegs him back with Lopez locked on his wheel.
- 3km remaining from 57km
The Barguil-Rui Costa tandem, meanwhile, is 14 seconds behind as the leaders enter the final three kilometres.
- 2km remaining from 57km
Van Garderen hits the front of the five-strong leading group, eager to prevent Rui Costa and Barguil from latching back on.
- 1.5km remaining from 57km
Sergei Chernetckii is sitting on at the rear of the leading group and is a real danger man as they approach the final kilometre.
- 1km remaining from 57km
Izaguirre leads the quintet into the final kilometre...
Van Garderen tries his hand but then desists and Izaguirre is manouevered to the front once again.
Pantano opens the sprint from distance, but Chernetckii is closing in...
Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) wins stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse.
Sergei Chernetckii (Katusha) almost drew level but couldn't quite get back on terms with the Colombian. Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) takes third ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) seals overall victory at the Tour de Suisse.
Jon Izaguirre (Movistar) will take second place overall and Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) has done enough to finish third.
Barguil and Rui Costa caught the leaders just as the sprint began - it was too late to dispute the stage win, but enough to ensure the Frenchman makes it onto the podium.
Talansky, meanwhile, crossed the line 56 seconds down and slips to fifth place overall, behind Pantano.
1 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 1:23:55
2 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha
3 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
6 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
7 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
8 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 00:00:56
9 Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC-Sprandi
10 Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycing
1 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 29:32:03
2 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:12
3 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:18
4 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:00:42
5 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:04
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:26
7 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:02:09
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:38
9 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:02:48
10 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha 00:05:08