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Tour de Suisse 2014: Stage 8

Live coverage of stage eight of the Tour de Suisse from Delémont to Verbier.

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage eight of the Tour de Suisse. Today's 219km stage is the so-called Queen stage of the race, with a long ride south and then a mountain finish at Verbier.

The riders have been in action for close to 30km and we already have the early break of the day. However the overall contenders and race leader Tony Martin (OPQS) are in the main peloton awaiting the climb to the finish..

There are six riders in the break and they currently have a lead of 1:40.

The six riders are: Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Christian Knees (Team Sky), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp) and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

Sadly Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) has been forced to abandon the race after a crash.

Thanks to winning the stage 7 time trial, Tony Martin has extended his overall lead to 28 seconds on Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano). his main overall rivals are even further back. 

This is the top 20 in the general classification.

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 23:42:43
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:28
3 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:01:05
4 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:01:14
5 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:33
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:01:36
7 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:42
8 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale 0:01:47
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:01:48
11 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:01:55
12 Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:02:02
13 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:04
14 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:06
15 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp 0:02:07
16 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
17 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:02:13
18 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:24
19 Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 0:02:29
20 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team 0:02:30

177km remaining from 219km

After 42km of racing, the peloton has eased up and the break has a gap of 4:20.

The climb to Verbier consists of two steps. The first 10km part rises gradually from 400m to 800m, with a category 3 climb topping out just after Vollèges.

After a short descent, the road kicks up again, with the climb to the finish lasting 13.4km. The mountain points are awarded 1.8km from the finish, with the finish in the centre of Verbier.

It's another hot day at the Tour de Suisse, with the riders enjoying blue skies and able to race in short sleeves.

164km remaining from 219km

After 55km of racing, the gap is 4:30.

After a long chase, Mateusz Taciak (CCC) has finally joined the break, meaning there are seven riders in the move.

The break is slowly gaining time on the peloton. The break is up to 5:20.

134km remaining from 219km

of the seven riders in the break, Rojas is the best placed overall and so is the virtual race leader ahead of Tony Martin.  

Today also sees riders in action across Europe, with stage three of the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk in the Netherlands, stage three of the Tour of Slovenia and stage two of the Route du Sud - la Dépêche du Midi in the Pyrenees.

We'll have reports and photos from all of the races.

In 2009 Alberto Contador won stage 15 of the Tour de France in Verbier, attacking alone with 5.7km to go. He won the stage alone and took the leader's yellow jersey to impose his supremacy on then Astana teammate Lance Armstrong.

Check out our stage report and and photo gallery from that day at the Tour de France.

Click here to read the report.

 

119km remaining from 219km

As the riders near the feed zone and the half-way point in today's stage, the gap continues to edge upwards. It is now 6:15.

The riders in the break continue to work smoothly together, riding a double pace line.

Many of the Tour de France favourites are not in action at the Tour de Suisse but are training at altitude. 

Check out this report on the work Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is doing in the Dolomites.

Click here to read the story.

The peloton has begun a more serious chase of the breakaway, reducing the gap to 6:30. The riders face a short descent and then the long valley road for almost 50km to the foot of the climb.

The break has concluded the descent and their gap is falling as the peloton ups the pace behind. It i down to 5:00.

Unfortunately, Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) has abandoned the race.

 

53km remaining from 219km

There are 53km to go in the eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse and the breakaway is holding a gap of 4:50 minutes. The peloton is working hard to bring this gap down.

 

Today's stage finishes with a difficult climb to Verbier, which begins with a Cat. 3 climb and finishes with a HC climb to the top.

 

29km remaining from 219km

The breakaway riders are working well with one another and hold 4:30 minutes on the field.

 

Back in the peloton, several teams are organizing themselves at the front of the field with teams Giant-Shimano, Team Europcar, Lampre-Merida and FDJ setting a quick pace.

 

With 24km to go, Lampre-Merida is forcing the pace at the front of the field.

 

Race leader Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is tucked in safely near the front.

 

The peloton is riding to chase the break and to set up their team leaders.

The OPQS team is trying to protect Tony Martin for as long as possible. Can he stay with the best GC riders or at least limit his losses and stay in the leader's jersey.

The break has turned off the valley road to begin the lower slopes of the road to Verbier.

Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing) is the first to be dropped from the break.

Rojas is first to the Cat 3 mountain sprint but the peloton is chasing them down.

This mountain finish is going to shake up the overall classification.

Giant-Shimano is riding on the front of the peloton to make Tony Martin suffer. The Dutch team is riding to set up Tom Dumoulin.

Upfront Rojas, De Vreese and Wyss are clear but they are being hunted down. Tinkoff-Saxo is also riding hard for Roman Kreuziger.

The gradient has kicked in now and the breakaways are suffering after a long time out front.

Tony Martin (OPQS) is still there, safely in the peloton.

The riders in the break are attacking each other, trying to be the last rider out front. 

Haas had a go but now Wyss is out front.

Tony Martin is on the front, trying to show his rivals he's riding strongly.

IAM Cycling is now setting the pace for Matthias Frank. tony Martin is still there and taking a drink.

Louis Meintjes (MTN Qhubeka) now surges away from the peloton. The South African champion is a promising climber and opens a 100m gap.

213km remaining from 219km

The peloton is 55 seconds behind Wyss with 6km to go.

Meintjes caches Thurau, who had jumped away before him. The German is the leader of the climber's competition and so wears the red jersey.

Tony Martin was 12th at Verbier in 2009 Tour de France. He still looks comfortable on this fast climb.

Martin is spinning his gear and using his power.

There are 30 riders in the front peloton. Andy Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) has been dropped.

Wyss is within sight of the peloton, with the two attackers in between.

Belkin is bossing the peloton, with ten Dam doing the work.

3km remaining from 219km

Gruppo compatto!

Tinkoff-Saxo is riding on the front now. Their boss Oleg Tinkov is at the finish today after riding the climb.

Bauke Mollema is there but is going deep to stay with the leaders.

Attack by Frank! Kreuziger follows him as do the other contenders.

Now Kreuziger ups the pace. Martin is slipping back.

Already out the back in Thibault Pinot (FDJ.fr).

Martin is now riding on the wheels.

Attack by Jhoan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge).

Davide Formolo (Cannondale) follows him and the two young riders open a gap.

Chaves makes it to the summit of the climb, with 1.7km to the finish.

Foermolo has faded but here comes Mollema and Kreuziger.

Chaves used his climbing skills to win a stage at the Tour of California. He looks good for a second win here.

Chaves is on the flat roads and heading to the finish.

Mollema tries to close the gap on Chaves but he stays clear to win alone.

Kreuziger edges Mollema for second but Tony Martin is only 15 or so seconds behind.

It's a great win by Chaves and an excellent defence of his leader's jersey by Tony Martin.

This year's Tour de Suisse will be decided on the final stage on Sunday.

Chaves produced a perfect effort to win and will now get to enjoy his moment on the podium.

Martin also climbs on the podium and pulls on another yellow leader's jersey.

Martin now leads Tom Dumoulin (Gaint-Shimano) by 51 seconds, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) is third overall at 1:05.

Thanks for joining us today for live coverage of the stage.

We'll have a full race report and a huge photo gallery on Cyclingnews very soon.

Join us on Sunday for live coverage of the 156.7km final stage from Martigny to Saas-Fee. The stage is short but includes four categorised climbs, including a HC climb to the finish.

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