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Tour de Suisse 2017: Stage 2


Stage two of the Tour de Suisse sees come climbing, but we still might have a sprint finish. 


 Welcome back to our live coverage of the Tour de Suisse! 

 The stage has just started and it looks like there are attacks from the get-go!

We are happy to report that all 176 riders from yesterday were at the start again today.

It's a hot and sunny day in Cham today, so we hope the riders remember to stay hydrated!

Things kicked off yesterday with a 6km time trial in Cham, won by Rohan Dennis. You can read about it here.

The race website tells us that we have our first break group: Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN/ABS), Nick Dougall (RSA/DDD), Conor Dunne (GBR/ABS), Antoine Duchesne (CAN/DEN) and Nick Van der Lijcke (NED/RNL).

Advantage Aqua Blue Sport, with two riders in the group. 

158km remaining from 172km

Don't forget to check out our race recon podcast! 

Just a reminder, here is Top ten after stage one:

Dennis had started the Giro d’Italia as BMC captain but a bad crash on stage 2 forced him out of the race two days later. He admitted he has “struggled” with training since then, and this win has tremendously helped his morale.

Dennis of course also leads the points ranking, and Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb the mountain ranking.

Hansen was the first over the day's first climb, and takes the points. The gap is now 7 minutes!

With a sprint finish expected today, Sunweb's Matthews will “have his eyes on the yellow jersey of overall leader, as there are time bonuses available on the line,” the team tells us. One might have expected Tom Dumoulin to do better than his teammate yesterday and indeed to have won, but the course was probably too short and flat for him – which is what made it ideal for Matthews.

144km remaining from 172km

The first of the four laps is complete. The gap is now 4:40, and so far they are going at just under 39km/h.

Matthias Brändle (Trek Segafredo) was one of several who finished nine seconds down, but he had the fewest fractions of a second, so he took third place. “The course really suited me, it was full gas from the beginning, just two corners, so it was suffering from the beginning,” he said. “I tried to give it my best. I had a good day, maybe not a perfect day, but I am happy with my performance, with my shape. I think towards the Tour de France I am in a good way and I hope this was my ticket.”

Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) was 17th in the time trial. “The result wasn’t what we would have liked, but overall I felt well and my legs were stronger in the final part of the course,” he said.

122km remaining from 172km

As for Sagan, he has to be a top favourite for today’s stage because, well, he is Peter Sagan.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) has just won the final stage of the Dauphine. It sounds like it was a really incredible, exciting stage, with teh top favourites really going to it!

Fuglsang has won the GC as well, the first Dane ever to win the Dauphine!

And now back to the action here in Switzerland! 

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) was another who had to abandon the Giro last month after hoping for GC success there. He is here in Suisse, but with no pressure. “We have to see how good he is and how well he feels. We are not going to lose time, but we do not have any specific goals for the GC. If Steven rides well, we can always see if we make the GC a goal,” said DS Addy Engels.

Hansen was once again the first at the mountaintop on the second lap. The gap to the peloton was 3:40.

As for today’s stage, Engels said, “It contains a tricky climb. It could be something for the sprinters who are able to survive a climb, but it may also be a chance for the GC riders to attack the first time. Most likely, a select group of riders will sprint for the win tomorrow.”

An intermediate sprint at 77.7 km saw Dougall go over the line first, giving him a 3 second time bonus.

We are still not at the halfway point, but with a little under 80km to go, the gap has come down to 3:30.

Maths never was our strong point, now was it....

We are at the halfway mark now, and the gap is back up to 3:55.

On a personal note, today is my 13th "anniversary" of working for Cyclingnews. That makes me the senior team member, in more ways than one!

We are 100 km into the race, and the gap is 3:34.

66km remaining from 172km

WE have some nice crowds along the way today.

Teh gap has dropped under the three minute mark. With 62 km left it is at 2:48.

You will not really be surprised to hear that Hansen once again took the maximum mountain points. Only one climb left. 

Looks like the peloton has gotten serious They are pretty strung out as the y fly along behind the escape group, with the gap shrinking constantly.

Interestingly enough, three teams ended up with two riders each in the top ten of Saturday’s time trial: BMC (Dennis and Küng), Sunweb (Matthews and Dumoulin) and LottoNL-Jumbo (Boom and Lammertink).

The breakaway group rolled through the second intermediate sprint. Not sure who took the points.

The points went to "the three D's" -- Dougall ahead of Dunn and Duchesne.

The gap is holding steady at around the 2:40 mark.

The lead group crosses the finish line for the penultimate time and takes off no the last lap.

BMC led the field across the line 2:35 later.

40km remaining from 172km

Dunne drops back from the group -- but he was waiting for Hansen, who no one notice had also dropped back. The two teammates hope to work their way back up again.

The two Aqua Blue riders are quite far back, and may find it difficult to catch the other leaders again.

BMC back in control of the field. Katusha gathering on the right hand side.

They mde it and we have five leaders again. The gap is 2:29 with 34 km to go.

The gap is rapidly heading to the two minute mark.

Dunne is paying for his efforts in helping Hansen, as he virtually stops as they start the climb.

A handful of riders went down. It looks like a CCC rider is worst off, as he is still laying on the road, but moving, fortunately.

With 30 km left, the gap is at 1:17.

Apparently the medical staff has called for a helicopter to pick up the injured CCC rider. The team says he was "hurt badly" but his name has not yet been released.

27km remaining from 172km

Only 33 seconds. We doubt the group will stay away until the final climb at this rate.

OH no, just as the break was caught, there is another big crash in the middle of the field. The yellow jersey is one of those who hits the road. A LottoNL-Jumbo looks injured.

Sunweb leads the way up the final cimb.

Rohan Dennis was indeed involved in that crash. He is now pretty far back.

Six riders have taken off from the now greatly reduced peloton. The road behind them is full of little groups.

Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) leads the peloton in pursuit of the break group. Jan Bakelants (AG2R) jumps to take the final mountain points.

There are now 3 riders in the lead, Bakelants, Rui Costa and Damiano Caruso. Meanwhile Dennis about two minutes back.

17 km and 30 seconds for the leading trio.

The injured CCC rider is Jonas Koch, the team says. They did not say anything about his condition.

14km remaining from 172km

Looks like some of the dropped riders are coming back to the main group. We know that Degenkolb and Matthews are in that group, and since Bora is leading the chase, we suspect that Sagan is there, too.

Lasse Norman Hansen of Aqua Blue has been confirmed as new KOM:

The three upfront are really holding on strongly to their slight lead. 9 km and 22 seconds.

Teh combined efforts of the sprinters' teams is bringing the gap down. Now only 13 seconds. the three leaders sprint for the intermediate sprint and it looks as if Caruso took it.

7 km and 10 seconds.

Bora is pulling out all the stops to catch these three. 7 seconds.

It was a strong effort, but in vain. With 5.2km to go, Kung and Philippe gilbert lead the charge and overtake the trio. soon the whole group is there. 

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) attacks!

Once again, Bora must go all out to catch the leader, this time it is the Olympic champion they must chase.

He is now caught.

Bora's Jan Barta moves to the front and hopes to prevent any further attacks.

A group of maybe 50 riders goes under the 3km banner.

1500 meters to go, and AG2R tries to attack. But they aren't going to put up with that.

AGain, 3 riders jump, joined by three more within the final 1 km. The field charges furiously.

All together adn AStana leads the way but in a messy sprint it is -- a photo finish? Looks like Gilbert.

No. It wasn't that close. Philippe Gilbert takes the win!

None of the top sprinters could get things together, with the many attacks at the end.

Patrick Bevin was second and Anthony Roux third.

Damiano Caruso is the new race leader, followed by Michael Matthews and Tom Dumoulin.


Top ten on the stage: 

General classification after stage 2

Thanks for reading along and be sure to come back for more tomorrow!

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