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Tour de Suisse 2017: Stage 5


Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Tour de Suisse. It's stage 5 today, 222km from Bex to Cevio - the longest stage of this year's race - with the Simplonpass appearing in the middle of the stage. 

As we pick up the action, the riders have completed the neutralised section and the race is underway and in its early kilometres. There's a fight to get into the breakaway - after Larry Warbasse's win yesterday, today could provide more fertile ground for the baroudeurs

Here's a look at the stage profile

There has been no shortage of interest in the breakaway today, with several riders trying their luck, but nothing sticking with 15km on the clock. 

Damiano Caruso is in yellow today, taking over the race lead from Michael Matthews to become the third BMC rider to wear yellow so far. 

You can read about how Caruso took the jersey - on a day when a tearful Larry Warbasse took Aqua Blue Sport's first ever victory - in our stage 4 report. 

A crash takes out Darwin Atapuma, Simone Petilli, and Simon Spilak, but all three are back in the bunch. 

192km remaining from 222km

Oscar Gatto, Matej Mohoric, and Antoine Duchesne try their luck but they, too, are brought to heel. 

In situations like this the race leader's team has to keep a watchful eye on who's trying to get up the road, but also there are so many teams who want to be in the break that if one sees a move go without themselves represented, they'll pull it back. 

There was a minute's silence on the start line in Bex this morning in honour of former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, who passed away on Tuesday evening.

Still nothing sticking. 

172km remaining from 222km

Pretty difficult to keep track of each and every move here. It's non-stop. Attacks are pinging off the front, groups are forming, but it's all coming back together. Rinse and repeat. 

One rider to keep an eye on this week is Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez, who won the Tour de Suisse last year but is only now making his first appearance of the season after a protracted comeback from a broken leg. He was 8th on the summit finish yesterday and was understandably pretty happy with that. Here's what he had to say. 

152km remaining from 222km

Here we go, another group goes but this time they work up a decent advantage. This could be it...

In there it's: Arman Kamyshev (Astana), Ben King (Dimension Data), Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Aqua Blue Sport) and Jesper Asselman (Roompot).

140km remaining from 222km

BMC hit the front of the bunch as the race settles into a more familiar pattern. The lead of the six riders has grown to more than four minutes. 

The riders are already nearing the foot of the Simplonpass, the major feature on today's stage profile. It's nothing to be sniffed at - 20 kilometres long with an average gradient of over 6%, and heading up to 2000m altitude. 

How much of an advantage can the breakaway men carve out? Riders like Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews will be hoping to stay in contention in the aim of contesting stage honours later in the day. 

The riders are on the Simplonpass, and the break has a lead of nearly six minutes.

Trek and Sunweb come to the front of the bunch to help set the pace on the climb. Trek have Degenkolb and Sunweb have Matthews, both of whom can survive climbs and sprint at the end. 

Kamyshev has been distanced from the breakaway, where Ben King is looking strong as he sets the pace.

Kamyshev is dropped again, having made his way back to the break.

The gap is down to below the five-minute mark now as the peloton make their way steadily up the climb. No big names dropped, as far as we can tell. 

The breakaway riders are in the final few kilometres of the climb. Kamyshev is back in there. 

100km remaining from 222km

Nordhaug collects maximum points at the top of the climb after a fiercely contested sprint. His Aqua Blue teammate Lasse Norman Hansen sits atop the mountains classification.

The peloton comes over the top of the climb 3:50 in arrears. 

Cookson says King's chances are strong, but the gap is only 3:50, with a long time for the teammates of Sagan, Matthews et al to bring the break back. There's a long descent now before another, shorter, categorised climb, but after that there are still over 50km to the line. 

Geraint Thomas was second at the Tour de Suisse two years ago. He's not here this time out but will be riding the Route du Sud ahead of the Tour de France. After a crash wiped out his hopes at the Giro d'Italia, he has hit re-set and turned his focus to July. 

The descent is a fast one, with long, straight stretches of roads rather than technical bends. Bewley punctures in the break but gets back on. 

Katusha's Marco Haller pings off the front of the bunch for a brief period as the peloton charges down the descent. The gap to the break is down to just 2:30 now.

The breakaway riders are nearing the foot of the descent. From there it's almost straight into the second categorised climb of the day - the third-cat hike to Druogno. 

That's Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez, last year's overall winner, who has crashed hard. The Colombian can't catch a break.

162km remaining from 222km

The breakaway have 58km to go, just one little category 3 climb to get over, then a nice downhill or flat run to the finish. But Kamyshev just can't stop from swinging at the back - the gap yawns to his former breakaway companions and he seems to be distanced for good.

Velon have provided some data on Ben King's power numbers while he's been on the attack today. Time: 1h30’45’’ // Speed: 49.7km/h // Power: 305W (Normalised: 315W) // 1 min peak power: 571W.

Meanwhile, Trek-Segafredo are keeping the breakaway riders in check - the gap has fallen to 3:15 to the five riders up front.

The peloton has passed into Italy, but there's no time to stop for passport controls. The chase is on!

Ben King will be hoping that this breakaway sticks so he can have a chance to follow up on the performance of his compatriot Larry Warbasse. Unlike the Texan, King has had a couple of pro wins - a stage of the Criterium International and one in Tour of California - but he's never won at the WorldTour level. That could change today.

55km remaining from 222km

There is only one rider in the breakaway who has won a WorldTour race, Nordhaug - who won the GP Montréal in 2012. But he'll surely be itching to freshen up his palmares today.

The details of North America's newest UCI race, the Colorado Classic, have been unveiled. Check out the stage information and maps in our news story:

51km remaining from 222km

Miguel Angel Lopez has been taken to hospital for checks following his crash.

37km remaining from 222km

UAE Team Emirates lead the peloton down the descent in full formation. They have Sacha Modolo as a potential winner of today's stage. 

31km remaining from 222km

Nordhaug waves his arm in remonstration with a convoy of police motorbikes. Given the snaking nature of the roads, they can't get best the breakaway riders. Nordhaug is slightly off the back of the break and the motos nip in ahead of him, making for hairy moments when they have to slow for corners and Nordhaug tries to come back through. 

26km remaining from 222km

The peloton comes off the descent now and onto the flat. It's still a very large bunch but UAE are still hammering it on the front and the bunch is strung out here. 

The rain is absolutely hammering it down now. 

30 seconds for the five breakaway riders as the visibility deteriorates. There's an intermediate sprint coming up now. 

Asselman skips away to take the sprint points. No one else is bothered. 

21km remaining from 222km

The breakaway quintet look at each other and ask how long to drag it out for. As they look round they see the advancing peloton in the periphery. 15 seconds now. 

Asselman and King forge on as Bewley, Wallays, and Nordhaug sit up. 

18km remaining from 222km

It's Trek, UAE, BMC in that order on the front of the peloton. 

Asselman and King continue their effort, and they still have 16 seconds on the bunch, where the pace has eased slightly.

15km remaining from 222km

Philippe Gilbert drops back to the neutral service vehicle. There must be another group of riders dropped from the bunch some way behind, as the team cars are stuck behind. 

Trek continue to lead the peloton but the breakaway duo have taken their lead back up to 30 seconds. Boom is somewhere in between. 

There was a second intermediate sprint point there, and as well as sprint points, it also carried bonus seconds of 3, 2, and 1 for the first three riders across. After Asselman and King mopped up the first two, race leader Caurso skipped away from the peloton to increase his overall lead by a second. 

10km remaining from 222km

Bora take a look at what Trek have been doing and decide more needs to be done. They hit the front for Sagan, with Matthews' Sunweb team also coming through. 

King and Asselman are giving it everything, and collaborating well together. 30 seconds it is, with 9km remaining. 

Bora continue to drive the peloton on. Unless there's a complete breakdown back there, this one's going to come back for a sprint. 

Giro d'Italia Tom Dumoulin hits the front now for Sunweb. 16 seconds is the gap now. 

7km remaining from 222km

6km remaining from 222km

Bora set up on the left. Orica on the right. Trek down the middle. 

4km remaining from 222km

BMC are up there in the middle, looking after Caruso's yellow jersey. 

3km remaining from 222km

And now Quick-Step finally come to the fore, squeezing up on the left. 

Quick-Step and Trek slugging it out now. 

2km remaining from 222km

1km remaining from 222km

1km remaining from 222km

Three QS, two Trek, two Sunweb, then Sagan. That's how it's ordered...

Late attack from Sunweb

Sagan tracks it and launches his sprint...

Peter Sagan wins stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse by a country mile

The world champion finally has his customary Tour de Suisse victory. 

Michael Albasini was second, Matteo Trentin third. 

Nikias Arndt threw in a surprise there with an early burst. Sagan jumped out left to get on his wheel and then surged clear with an incredible burst of speed. No one could get near him. 

Replays show that as Sagan was coming past the Quick-Step lead-out, Trentin had to check and very nearly crashed. He came back well for third, but there was no living with Sagan there - the timing and the speed. 

Sagan whipped out a new celebration for the cameras there, which my colleague Sadhbh O'Shea is describing as a 'hula dance'. Whatever it is, it'll be plastered all over social media soon and we'll have a picture of it from our finish-line photographer shortly. 

Stage result

General classification after stage 5

Peter Sagan speaks

Sagan (I'm ruling out a dab) now has 14 Tour de Suisse stage wins to his name, with at least one in each of the past seven editions. 

A sobering image here of the aftermath of Lopez's crash. The Colombian was put in a neck brace and taken to hospital. He has had no luck with crashes so far in his young career, and this is a further set-back in what was only his first race of the season. We'll have a full story later with an update on his condition. 

A happier picture

For full results, a report, and some photos (more to come), check out our stage 5 report page.

We shift back to the GC battle tomorrow with another tough GC day. Here's what's in store. 

That's all from us today. I'll leave you with this shot of Sagan's celebration. 

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