Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
hedwig kröner

Hello and welcome back to the Tour de Suisse! Today's the queen stage of the Swiss event with two Cat. HC and one Cat. 1 climbs on the menu over 213.3 kilometres from Meiringen to La Punt.

  1. 12:13:05 CEST

    The riders are underway, the peloton is together as they rol through the town of Meiringen. There are 148 riders left in the race - and we expect more to quit today as the stage is extremely difficult and the Swiss weather still not improved...

  2. 12:15:50 CEST

    The official start has now occurred! Off we go for 213 kilometres of challenging climbing and fast descents... The first climb, the Sustenpass, will be tackled right away. Its summit comes after 28 kilometres.

  3. 12:23:44 CEST

    The weather at the moment is actually not too bad, with the sun sending a few rays throught scattered clouds. But it's not very warm, only 17° Celsius in the valley at 600 meters above sea level. The Sustenpass is at 2.224 metres - if we calculate that the temperature cedreses by one degree per hundred meters of altitude, it will be just above 0 degrees on the summit...

    Also, there might be some snow there after yesterday's rain, as the rain turned to snow above 1.600 metres of altitude.

  4. 12:30:50 CEST

    We have a breakaway: Eleven riders are off the front: Edouard Vorganov (Katusha), Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas),Philip Deignan (Cervélo), Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Brice Feillu, Marco Marcato, Wouter Poels (all Vacansoleil) and Jérémy Roy (FdJ).

    The group has around one minute on the bunch.

  5. 12:32:35 CEST

    Late notive, but better late than never: Mark Cavendish (HTC) has quit the race. The sprinter did not turn up this morning. Also, Wilfried Cretskens (Omega) abandoned just now.

  6. 12:36:02 CEST

    Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) and Mathias Frank (BMC) are trying to bridge up to the lead group. Frank is 25 seconds behind the leaders, with Iglinsky further away.

  7. 201.3km remaining from km

    12:39:39 CEST

    Frank, the only Swiss rider off the front, has made it to the breakaway. We have 12 riders in the lead now, followed by the bunch at 1'17" - not an extraordinary gap. HTC riders around overall leader Tony Martin are controlling the pace.

  8. 12:42:05 CEST

    Iglinsky is back inside the peloton. An Euskaltel rider, Juan José Oroz, now tries to bridge up to the lead group.

    It is still very cloudy here is Switzerland and the sun at the start has gone away...

  9. 198.3km remaining from km

    12:44:47 CEST

    Oroz looks like he'll make it. Only 12 seconds left to the group. The bunch, meanwhile is relegated at 1'27".

  10. 12:52:00 CEST

    The riders are slowly making their way up the Sustenpass. The Alpine landscape is very green, with dense forests covering the slopes. It actually looks quite wild for Switzerland - were it not for the excellent road surface!

  11. 13:00:18 CEST

    Oroz has made it to the leaders. We therefore have 13 riders at the front now:

    Edouard Vorganov (Katusha), Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas), Philip Deignan (Cervélo), Pablo Lastras Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank), Juan José Oroz, Amets Txurruka (both Euskaltel), Brice Feillu, Marco Marcato, Wouter Poels (all Vacansoleil), Jérémy Roy (FdJ) and Mathias Frank (BMC).

    The bunch is currently 2 minutes adrift.

  12. 13:04:07 CEST

    This getting serious, as the riders are swallowed by large clouds of fog on their way up the mountain. At this point it is not much of a problem but will be once the riders tackle the descent. Visibility is very poor at times.

  13. 195km remaining from km

    13:07:56 CEST

    Several riders are getting dropped out of the back of the bunch. What a long day today, and this is only the start... Only a few kilometres left and the riders will have mastered the first of three climbs on the menu for today.

  14. 13:14:16 CEST

    After yesterday's surprise victory of Switzerland over Spain in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Swiss riders will be motivated to continue challenging their international rivals here at the Tour de Suisse. Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara, 2009 victor of the event, will be eager to try and dethrone Tony Martin today. Cancellara lies only one second behind Mrtin on GC.

  15. 13:18:01 CEST

    There are some patches of snow on the slopes above the road. It sure looks chilly.

  16. 13:22:26 CEST

    The leaders have extended their advantage to 2'50" now. They will be at the summit soon.

  17. 13:29:08 CEST

    The leaders have crossed the KOM point on the Sustenpass., zipping up now. The patches of snow have turned into fields...

  18. 13:33:27 CEST

    At the summit of the HC climb, Wouter Poels took the points in front of Mathias Frank, Brice Feillu, Amets Txurruka and Juan Manuel Garate.

    They are fast descending now. Fortunately the fog has lifted and the clouds are high up in the sky on this side of the mountain, so the descent should not be dangerous. The road is dry, too.

  19. 13:39:43 CEST

    We have just been informed that Cavendish, who did not start today, is still taking the opportunitiy to get some climbing into his legs. Apparently the Manxman is riding some of the route today, followed by a team car.

  20. 166.3km remaining from km

    13:52:16 CEST

    Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel) has abandoned.

    The last riders to have corssed the pass were already 11 minutes behind the leaders. And there is more to come...

    The leaders are racing through Wassen now. Brice Feillu had trouble hanging on in the descent but is now back with the group. They have incresed their lead to 4 minutes.

  21. 14:00:54 CEST

    The front group of 13 had somewhat disintegrated, with several small groups now starting the next climb, the Oberalppass (Cat. 1). But now, the riders are together again - save for Feillu, who still has trouble following the pace.

  22. 14:07:09 CEST

    It is looking good for our breakaway. The 12 riders (without Feillu, who is riding alone now, 30 seconds behind the group) now have five minutes on the peloton. Feillu's Vacansoleil teammates are looking back but can't see him...

    The Oberalppass culminates just over 2,000 metres. It is not quite as steep as the previous one, but will add to the suffering.

  23. 14:08:09 CEST

    Feillu's efforts are rewarded. He gets back to the group.

  24. 157km remaining from km

    14:13:33 CEST

    The leaders have passed Andermatt, extending their advantage to 6'22". Seems like the bunch has given up hope of catching them before the final climb - or before the finish?

  25. 14:20:44 CEST

    With regards to Mark Cavendish, who abandoned the race this morning, the HTC team has stated that he was still in too much pain from his injuries suffered in a crash in stage four. We will follow up on this later on this evening, so stay tuned for more information to come.

  26. 14:27:00 CEST

    Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke to Oscar Pereiro at the start today. The Astana rider was "happy with my form and with how things are going. Today's going to be a tough one and a good test of everyone's condition."

    The 2006 Tour de France winner will be preparing for this year's July Grand Tour, where he will be one of Alberto Contador's main helpers.

  27. 14:38:30 CEST

    The riders are covering a total of 4,761 vertical metres today. It will be essential for the breakaway to work together until the very end if they want to stay clear.

    At the moment, Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) is the new overall leader of the race, as he's in 17th positon with 26 seconds behind the current yellow jersey, German Tony Martin (HTC).

  28. 14:41:33 CEST

    Again, the riders work their way up the climb amidst patches of snow... Fortunately, the clouds hovering above the race don't seem to want to shed any water at this point.

  29. 14:44:49 CEST

    Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes also got a hold of Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) this morning. After a very successful spring season, the Belgian "finds it hard to get motivated again. My form is OK but not too great. I hope to ride the Belgian Championships later on this month." Gilbert will not participate in the Tour de France, as he plans to peak a second time this year in autumn.

  30. 14:52:12 CEST

    The breakaway leads the bunch by 5'30" on top of the climb. Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) will take over the mountains jersey from Mathias Frank (BMC) this evening.

  31. 133.3km remaining from km

    14:55:46 CEST

    They are flying down the descent now. The scenery changes as the forests make way to green pastures. The leaders speed through the village of Sedrun.

  32. 14:59:19 CEST

    At the summit of the Oberalppass, Frank did not leave his jersey to Poels without putting on a fight - but the BMC rider was outsprinted by the Dutchman and had to settle for second at the KOM point, taking eight points in front of Roy (6), Feillu (4) and Txurruka (2).

    Poels now leads Frank by two points in the classification - but a third categorized climb is yet to come today!

  33. 15:05:40 CEST

    The riders will soon be able to recharge their batteries, as the feed zone is coming up. There is plenty of rolling downhill yet to do before a small - not categorized - ascent awaits them at km 120. From then on, the road will get bumpy again, with more climbing to do before the Albulapass (Cat. HC) really starts around km 180.

  34. 15:11:41 CEST

    The bunch is still being led out by HTC-Columbia as they, too, will get to the feed zone soon. The current gap to the front riders is 5'35". They will have to work hard in the next few kilometres in order to catch the break before the summit of the ultimate climb, the Albulapass (2,315 metres above sea level).

  35. 15:18:28 CEST

    A short rainshower left the roads slightly wet as Feillu seems to have problems holding the pace, once again. Correction: he's back within the group now as they continue their way after grabbing their feed bags.

  36. 15:27:13 CEST

    This morning at the start in Meiringen, Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes also interviewed Nick Nuyens (Rabobank). "My form is coming up," the Belgian said. "Due to a strong sinusitis after Het Volk, I missed out on my form for the Classics, but now, it's getting better."

    The Begian Championships later on this month will be "difficult" for him, though. "I only have one teammate there, and with the other teams having plenty, it will not be easy. Although sometimes one can take advantage of such a situation."

    Nuyens will not be racing the Tour de France in July, but aim at the Vuelta and the Worlds later this season.

  37. 15:30:48 CEST

    It's started to rain a bit again, and the riders have put on their vests. Apparently the weather forecast predicts more rain until the finish, as well as very chilly temperatures: 4°C on the Albulapass, and 7° in La Punt... this stage gets more and more demanding.

  38. 15:34:04 CEST

    Olivier Bonnaire (Française Des Jeux) has called it quits. First, he had some mechanical problem and waited for his team car. But then he decided to abandon...

  39. 94km remaining from km

    15:36:41 CEST

    The gap between the break and the bunch is back to 6'34", as the leading riders take on the climb up to Flims.

  40. 15:47:34 CEST

    Daniel taking over from Hedwig. Thanks, Hedi.

    The the leaders are now on a small ungraded climb towards Flims. It's good to see Feillu in the break again after his exploits during stage 4. I see Garate is there too. Dangerous climber, who of course won the stage on Ventoux in last year's Tour de France.

  41. 89km remaining from km

    15:56:31 CEST

    Saxo Bank have moved to the front now to give HTC a hand in bringing back the break. Conditions are still poor as the rain continues.

  42. 16:03:01 CEST

    The leaders lost a minute on the climb. A combination of Saxo Bank joining the chase and there are a few tired legs in the break but it's interesting that Saxo Bank are coming to the front so early in the stage.

  43. 16:08:12 CEST

    The gap down to five minutes as the break now start the descent. The peloton are a few km from the top.

  44. 16:11:40 CEST

    The descent has two sections to it. The first, which the break has just completed is followed by a false-flat before the road begins to dip down again.

  45. 16:15:21 CEST

    The peloton are now on the descent of the climb. Once they're at the bottom of the valley it's all up hill or flat until the finish.

  46. 16:22:04 CEST

    The break has managed to gain a few more seconds on the bunch on the descent. The gap is now 5.25.

  47. 16:26:21 CEST

    The leaders are now through Reichenau. Roughly 20 miles of flat-ish roads before the climbing begins but really there isn't much flat road here at all. Saxo and HTC still on the front.

  48. 16:36:30 CEST

    Francesco Gavazzi is leader on the road at the moment.

  49. 70km remaining from km

    16:44:27 CEST

    The lead dips under 5 minutes now. These guys still have the climb and then a short descent to the finish. It's going to be very tough for them to stay away.

  50. 51km remaining from km

    16:52:17 CEST

    Poels is now leading the KOM competition now having won the points on the first two climbs. The leaders have 51km to go now and the cooperation seems to have gone now. They're not riding with much cohesion. I feel a bit of a selection about to take place.

    They're on the lower slopes of the climb now.

  51. 16:52:45 CEST

    The gap is down to 3,50 now.

  52. 50km remaining from km

    16:55:00 CEST

    The bunch are now on the lower slopes of the climb now. Special Breschel is near the front, Martin too, with Cancellara on his wheel. Those two are separated by just 1 second in the overall. Who is the better climber? Martin?

  53. 16:56:07 CEST

    Oroz and Lastras are good climbers too and they're in the break. Watch out for them.

  54. 48km remaining from km

    16:58:49 CEST

    Feillu takes something from the car and holds on to the driver's arm like his life depends on it. Still holding, still holding, still holding.

  55. 16:59:51 CEST

    Vande Velde from Garmin Tranisitions near the front. We've not seen much of him so far in the race. Of course he's coming back from a broken collar bone. Will he test himself today on the climb?

  56. 43km remaining from km

    17:09:07 CEST

    We should see a big shack up in the overall today. Riders to watch are the Schlecks, Leipheimer, Kirchen, Kreuziger and Leon Sanchez

  57. 17:10:17 CEST

    There's a slight break from the leaders, Garate, Lastras, Vanotti nip off the front. That will suit the bunch.

  58. 17:11:07 CEST

    Vanotti's on a bit of a mission here. Garate and Lastras just hanging on as the behind them the remnants split all over the road.

  59. 17:12:07 CEST

    Marcato and Frank have made it to the front trio now.

  60. 17:12:40 CEST

    Deignan is out of the back. That's a bit of a surprise to be honest.

  61. 17:13:45 CEST

    Euskaltel missed that split so they'll have to work hard to bring those five riders back.

  62. 17:14:39 CEST

    Frank is pushing the new lead group along and they have 17 seconds on the chasers and 3.35 on the bunch.

  63. 17:16:23 CEST

    The five leaders are working well together. They've gained another couple of seconds on the chasers. Long way to go though.

  64. 35km remaining from km

    17:17:12 CEST

    Feillu makes it over to the leaders so we now have six guys at the front of the race.

  65. 34km remaining from km

    17:19:43 CEST

    HTC on the front. I think that's Monfort chugging away. No it's Roulston.

  66. 17:20:15 CEST

    Crisis. The riders are held at the train barriers.

  67. 17:20:48 CEST

    Hulsmans is laughing but I dont think the GC riders will be finding this so funny. The gap is going to go up a lot.

  68. 17:21:32 CEST

    Okay, they've got back to real life again and the pace is going to shoot up. They lost around a minute there. Lastras has flown so HTC have to react, they have to chase now.

  69. 17:22:10 CEST

    The gap is close to five minutes again as the two lead groups come back together again.

  70. 17:24:14 CEST

    Oroz attacks but it's going to come back together as Lastras leads the chase.

  71. 17:24:53 CEST

    HTC are working hard now. Three riders, then Martin and then Andy Schleck.

  72. 17:26:58 CEST

    A lot of responsibility on Monfort's shoulders here actually. He'll be Martin's last man on the climb and if the German wants the race he'll need all the help he can get.

  73. 17:27:56 CEST

    Oroz took the points at that sprint there but Frank wasn't too happy about it. Oroz was simply protecting Hernandez's lead.

  74. 17:29:50 CEST

    Saxo have put a man on the front now. The gap still over four minutes.

  75. 17:31:34 CEST

    It's Jens Voigt who is driving the bunch in case you were wondering as Marcato tries to break things up in the lead group. No joy though.

  76. 17:32:32 CEST

    17km of climbing left and then the descent to the finish.

  77. 17:32:57 CEST

    The gap is back under four minutes now so the work from Saxo is paying off.

  78. 17:34:56 CEST

    Lastras makes a move. Told you he was dangerous.

  79. 17:35:31 CEST

    He's trying to bridge over to Roy and Feillu.

  80. 25km remaining from km

    17:37:43 CEST

    Feillu is setting the pace, Roy is just trying to hang on. Remind me why Feillu won't be at the Tour this year?

    Roy is dropped.

  81. 17:38:25 CEST

    Lastras Oroz and Garate are working together just behind. Gap to the bunch is under three minutes.

  82. 25km remaining from km

    17:39:55 CEST

    Lastras is in trouble now and he's starting to slip from Garate's wheel but it's bye bye Fabian. Cancellara is dropped from the lead group.

  83. 17:40:34 CEST

    But all is not lost. Andy Schleck attacks. Not a massive move and Gesink is going after him.

  84. 17:41:44 CEST

    Gesink just about to catch Schleck with another rider there too. Not sure who he is though. It might be Westra

  85. 17:43:05 CEST

    Spectacular scenery here in Switzerland as the peloton have a huge drop to their right hand side overlooking some great views. The Schleck group have a small lead but nothing huge, maybe 75 meters.

  86. 17:43:44 CEST

    Andy's is waiting to Frank. Gesink sets the pace. A quick step rider coming along for the ride too.

  87. 17:45:27 CEST

    Roman Kreuziger is trying to come over too as Martin leads a chase with one teammate left with him. Sky are helping the chase for their man Lövkvist.

  88. 17:46:33 CEST

    The road is starting to kick up a bit more, this really is a long, long climb. Brice still leading affairs. He looks quite good actually.

  89. 21km remaining from km

    17:48:03 CEST

    Andy Schleck is with Jacob Fuglsang not Frank, apologies.

  90. 17:49:33 CEST

    Schleck leading his group now, his teammate sits at the back of the group.

  91. 17:50:38 CEST

    Andy keeps looking back, probably for Frank but he's got a chance of taking the win if he gets to the front.

  92. 17:51:03 CEST

    Vanotti and Frank both caught and dropped.

  93. 17:51:27 CEST

    Lastras caught too. He's got nothing left.

  94. 17:52:26 CEST

    Jacob Fuglsang is setting the pace now and he's picking up riders from the day's early break at nearly every corner. Oroz the latest to be caught and dropped.

  95. 17:53:22 CEST

    Gesink just at the back of the group now while Feillu gets out of the saddle and pushes on the pedals again.

  96. 17:55:04 CEST

    The Martin group are still plugging away but he could be out of yellow by the end of today's stage.

  97. 17:57:13 CEST

    Martin has cracked. He's waving riders passed him.

  98. 17:58:20 CEST

    The German is spinning a low gear but he's all alone now. Sad sight when we you see the race leader like that but he should catch a few riders before the top of the climb.

  99. 17:59:43 CEST

    Lövkvist has been dropped from a group containing Levi and Lance. Frank is there with the shack guys too and Schlecks group have been caught.

  100. 17km remaining from km

    18:00:56 CEST

    Uran who was with the shack group has a go and attacks from the front. There are around a dozen riders in the favourites group.

  101. 18:01:39 CEST

    Roy is about to be caught now by the Schleck, Armstrong group.

  102. 18:02:18 CEST

    Martin is all by himself now, in fact he's got a Lampre rider on his wheel. Wonder how things would have worked out if Rogers had been here.

  103. 18:02:56 CEST

    About 5km of climbing for the lone leader. And now Schleck goes!

  104. 18:03:22 CEST

    That was a huge attack. Levi tried to stay with him but he had no chance.

  105. 18:03:48 CEST

    He's got a gap of around 200 meters already.

  106. 18:04:22 CEST

    Devolder is leading the chase but no one can attack right now.

  107. 16km remaining from km

    18:05:08 CEST

    He looks pretty good here does Schleck, the lone leader is in trouble though. Gesink goes!

  108. 18:06:19 CEST

    Feillu caught and passed by Garate and Txurruka. Can they hold off Schleck?

  109. 15km remaining from km

    18:07:21 CEST

    Gesink is closing on Schleck who can't gain anymore ground on the Shack group.

  110. 18:08:21 CEST

    The two new leaders now ride side by side. Gesink is coming to Schleck's wheel now.

  111. 18:09:11 CEST

    Four leaders now. Two from Rabobank once from Saxo and oh nevermind. It's all about to come back together now.

  112. 18:09:33 CEST

    Leipheimer is struggling, Devolder, and Kloden too.

  113. 18:10:54 CEST

    Martin perhaps a minute down but Gesink has attacked!

  114. 14km remaining from km

    18:11:35 CEST

    Gesink seemed to attack in slow motion but he's really moving now. Can he keep the gap?

  115. 18:12:20 CEST

    Andy is caught but Frank goes now.

  116. 18:12:40 CEST

    He's got Zaugg with him.

  117. 18:13:10 CEST

    Kloden is back from the dead and is leading the chase.

  118. 18:14:15 CEST

    Gesink looks very good. I've said that a lot today but this time I really mean it. Promise. He's got 34 seconds on the chasers already.

  119. 18:15:02 CEST

    Kloden leads Amstrong. Levi is at the back of the group.

  120. 18:15:52 CEST

    44 seconds now for Gesink.

  121. 18:16:18 CEST

    Martin is climbing with Roche on his wheel. he's two minutes down on Gesink.

  122. 18:16:52 CEST

    Gesink was 27 seconds down on Martin so he could take the stage and yellow.

  123. 18:17:25 CEST

    He's close to the top of the climb now and the gap is a minute for Gesink.

  124. 11km remaining from km

    18:18:09 CEST

    Kloden still setting the pace for the chasers. Armstrong now on his wheel.

  125. 18:19:35 CEST

    Frank S and Zaugg have almost given up on catching Gesink now. Schleck takes a long look back.

  126. 10km remaining from km

    18:21:19 CEST

    Gesink, not far for him now. he's closing in on he top of the climb. he'll then need to survive the descent.Gesink isn't a great climber but he should make this.

  127. 18:21:59 CEST

    The Rabobank car comes up to Gesink. He need to push now and get every second. Remember we still have a TT this weekend to come.

  128. 18:22:41 CEST

    Gesink out of the saddle. Going for it as he crests the top.

  129. 18:23:42 CEST

    It's not downhill just yet. It's actually flat for now. Armstrong is getting dropped but should get back on.

  130. 18:24:09 CEST

    The gap at the top was 1.10

  131. 18:24:50 CEST

    Armsrtrong on F Schleck's wheel. Leipheimer only just over the top of the climb.

  132. 18:25:12 CEST

    This is an odd descent. It's pancake flat.

  133. 8km remaining from km

    18:26:28 CEST

    Gesink is in full tt mode now. 8km for him.

    Tony Martin meanwhile is 2.46 back.

  134. 18:27:47 CEST

    Finally Gesink has a descent. A real descent and he's screaming down the climb.

  135. 5km remaining from km

    18:28:05 CEST

    5km for the leader now.

  136. 18:28:34 CEST

    The stage should be in the bag but how much time can he take in the overall?

  137. 18:29:22 CEST

    Andy Schleck isn't with the Armstrong group. Looks like he was dropped at the top of the climb.

  138. 3km remaining from km

    18:31:00 CEST

    A few technical corners on this downhill, as you would expect on a climb like this. The gap is one minute now.

  139. 1km remaining from km

    18:32:05 CEST

    Gesink has just 1km to go.

  140. 18:33:08 CEST

    Gesink still pushing as he takes the final turn.

  141. 18:33:32 CEST

    He crosses the line and takes the win.

    Start the clock.

  142. 18:34:05 CEST

    Armstrong is chasing. and the gap is 40 seconds on the line.

  143. 18:34:46 CEST

    That might put Uran in yellow.

  144. 18:35:32 CEST

    He was ten seconds behind Martin.

    Leipheimer coming in now. He lost over two minutes today.

  145. 18:35:57 CEST

    Here comes Martin. 2.36 down today.

  146. 18:36:34 CEST

    Uran finished second on the stage today.

  147. 18:39:30 CEST

    Confirmation that Gesink is now in yellow. Uran is 29 seconds down.

  148. 18:40:21 CEST

    Thanks for following us today. Tune in tomorrow for another stage of the Tour de Suisse.

  149. 18:42:01 CEST


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