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Tour de Suisse 2012: Stage 7


Welcome to our live coverage of stage 7 of the 2012 Tour de Suisse. Today's challenge for the riders is a 34.3km time trial in Gossau. After several stages there the overall general classification hasn't changed very much, today could see things shaken up a lot ahead of the final two stages over the weekend.

For a blow-by-blow account of yesterday's sixth stage, won by Liquigas rider Peter Saga, read our full report here. But here's the top ten finishers from yesterday:




1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:30:08
2 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
5 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
8 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
9 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team
10 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana

And here's how things stood in the overall GC after yesterday's action - Portugual's Rui Costa (Movistar) still holds the yellow jersey:




1 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 25:23:38
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:08
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:15
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:19
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:21
6 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
8 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
9 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:26
10 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:29

And here's the first surprise of the day - pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara had posted the best time of the day by some distance earlier this afternoon, but he has been edged out by Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana). Both men posted the same times, over two minutes better than the rest so far, but the marginal timings give Kessiakoff the overall lead.

Let's have a closer look at the course as the leaders in the GC get closer to their start times. It's certainly far from flat today, with a few small climbs and one significant one, the Phannenstiel, peaking at the 11.3km point. Coincidentally, the top of this hill is also the first checkpoint, with the second one coming on a relatively flat section at the 22.6km point.

Let's have a look at some remaining start times then, for the main GC contenders (all times BST):


14:58 Cunego (Lampre)

15:06 Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)

15:18 Valverde (Movistar)

15:26 Kreuziger (Astana)

15:28 F Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)

15:30 Costa (Movistar)

The Movistar conundrum is an interesting one this afternoon. Both Valverde and Costa are in the top ten on the GC. Costa is in first place and Valverde is in 6th, but only 23 seconds separate the pair. Both men are useful in time trials. If Valverde can overhaul the deficit then it may well change the team orders as to who is number one over the weekend.

Glorious sunshine now for the riders and the fans. Makes you happy to be alive...

With so many time trial kilometres at this year's Tour de France, this is the last chance for some of the riders to prove their mettle before the showpiece event. Plenty of eyes will be on Frank Schleck this afternoon...

Man of the week Peter Sagan crosses the line in 49:13 - around two-and-a-half minutes back on Kessiakoff and Cancellara

Fast time there from Jeremy Roy - the FDJ-BigMat rider comes home in 47:12, which is good enough for third overall.

Fast time there from Jeremy Roy - the FDJ-BigMat rider comes home in 47:01, which is good enough for third overall.

Fast time there from Jeremy Roy - the FDJ-BigMat rider comes home in 47:01, which is good enough for third overall.

Last yea's winner Levi Leipheimer is now well on his way towards the first checkpoint. He won the Tour de Suisse last year by flying through the final day time trial. So he must be confident of a decent time this afternoon.

Home favourite Martin Kohler (BMC) crosses the line in 8th position to the delight of the local fans.

As Frank Schleck prepares to set off here, he'll be trying to put the speculation surrounding his beleaguered RadioShack-Nissan team behind him. With manager Johan Bruyneel implicated in the Lance Armstrong case, there's been all sorts of rumours flying around, including salaries being paid late. Read all about it here.

And Valverde is underway. Can he eclipse his teammate today? It will be one of the more fascinating side issues.

Another local favourite, Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), has just finished. He was just inside the top 50, around four minutes down on the leaders.

The combination of all this Swiss scenery and a very light lunch is making me crave Toblerone...

We're into the top five on GC now. Roche and Pinot have just set off.

Leipheimer is 20 seconds down at the first checkpoint, and pushing hard.

And Rabobank's Robert Gesink is also looking sharp today. He's just passed the second checkpoint in a time of 32:58 - 6th fastest on the day

And Costa is underway. Can he hang on to yellow? That's all the riders either out on the course or finished for the day.

And Kessiakoff has some company from his team in the top five. Estonian rider Tanel Kangert makes it a good day for Astana so far by forcing his way into the top five in a time of 47:10.

It's a very twisty finish here over the last few hundred metres.

Leipheimer has lost time over the second sector. At the second checkpoint he was over a minute down.

Gesink into fifth in a time of 47:03

Kreuziger passes the first time check at 19:56, which is two seconds slower than Leipheimer could manage.

And Frank Schleck passes through he first checkpoint in roughly the same time as Kreuziger and Leipheimer - 19:52

YELLOW JERSEY UPDATE: Rui Costa has crossed the first checkpoint in a time of 19:32 - very quick and faster than his GC rivals. If he can keep it up he might even extend his lead in the GC

Kreuziger 11th fastest through the second checkpoint

Schleck 17th fastest through the same checkpoint. At this rate Kreuziger will leapfrog him in the GC, but still got the third sector to come.

And Costa is sixth fastest through sector two. He is still on course to extend his lead at the top of the GC here...

And Valverde crosses the finish line 17th fastest. Looks like he will lose ground on his teammate Costa in the GC...

Sky's Thomas Lofkvist was seen as a dark horse for yellow ahead of today's stage. Things haven't gone to plan as he finishes in 27th place on the day.

Costa looking strong. TT riding position certainly more natural than Schleck's.

Kreuziger is over the line - 15th place for the Astana man. Will he fall further behind Costa? Looking that way at the moment

Schleck is 27th at the finish line. Only Costa left on the road. Surely his yellow jersey is safe?

Terrific effort from Costa - he finishes 8th in today's stage and has definitely extended his lead in the GC

STAGE WINNER: Kessiakoff takes the stage win. Him and Cancellara were streets ahead of anyone else and only two seconds separated the pair.

Full top tens for stage and overall GC to follow as soon as they are confirmed...



1 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana 0:46:37
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:02
3 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:20
4 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:25
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:27
6 Tanel Kangert (Est) Pro Team Astana 0:00:34
7 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:38
8 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:41
9 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma - QuickStep 0:00:43
10 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:51



1 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 26:10:55
2 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:50
3 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:55
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:04
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan
6 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:01:12
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma - QuickStep 0:01:15
8 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team 0:01:17
9 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling 0:01:22
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:27

So a grerat day under the sunshine in Switzerland. Scorching performance from Kessiakoff (pictured) to deny local hero Cancellara by the narrow margin of just two seconds. And brilliant ride also from Garcia, who extends his lead in the overall GC at the main expense of Frank Schleck, who drops from 2nd place to 5th.


We'll have a full report on today's stage along with results and photos right here as we get them.


And don't forget to join us over the weekend for live coverage of the final two days here as we find out who will add their name to the roll of honour at the Tour de Suisse.

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