The peloton is currently negotiating the neutralised zone in Locarno and will reach kilometre zero at 12.52 local time. There are two mountains on the agenda today, the San Bernardino and the haul over the Albulapass ahead of the short drop to the finish at La Punt.
Damiano Caruso (BMC) sits atop the overall standings, 16 seconds clear of Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo). The top ten is as follows:
1 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 17:24:24
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:16
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:25
4 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin
5 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:32
6 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:34
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:10
8 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:11
9 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:21
10 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:38
There is one non-starter to report. Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) has withdrawn from the Tour de Suisse, citing fatigue, which is rather understandable. The Dutchman came to Switzerland with the aim of gauging his condition "day by day," and after losing 7 minutes on Tuesday, it was clear that he was struggling. "Before heading to Switzerland we already knew that our expectations would be taken day by day with Tom," said Sunweb coach Marc Reef. "At the uphill finish of stage 4 we monitored increased fatigue and yesterday we tried it once again. The conclusion was that it wasn’t worth continuing to battle and we would rather him recharge his batteries once again for next week’s nationals before taking a break in July, ahead of the second part of the season.”
160km remaining from 166km
David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) is an early attacker, but his move is promptly brought to heel. It's been a brisk start but, for now at least, the peloton remains together.
155km remaining from 166km
The flurry of early attacking continues, but as yet BMC are reluctant to allow any of these moves to drift clear.
Away from the Tour de Suisse, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) returns to action at the Tour of Slovenia this afternoon. The Manxman was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus in mid-April and his participation in the Tour de France remains in doubt ahead of the four-day stage race in Slovenia. "You don't know when you'll get better and that is very hard to deal with. I don't have any special goals for this race, I just want to see where I am and maybe finish it," Cavendish said. "I also can't say much regarding the Tour, I don't know if I will go there." Read the full story here.
145km remaining from 166km
A group of 11 riders that includes Michael Matthews, Jarlinson Pantano, Sylvain Chavanel and the Quick-Step duo of Gianluca Brambilla and Matteo Trentin has opened a small gap over the peloton, but they won't be allowed clear without a struggle.
The Matthews group never established a lead of more than 15 seconds and it, too, has been recaptured by the peloton. It's been a rapid start on the Tour de Suisse, and the stage has yet to settle into any real shape.
136km remaining from 166km
After 30 kilometres of racing, the peloton is still together. The race website, meanwhile, reports that Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal) has abandoned.
The bunch is still together as it approaches the base of the 21-kilometre haul up the San Bernardino, which will surely offer the terrain for a break to forge clear.
122km remaining from 166km
The peloton hits the base of the San Bernardino. The exertions of this rapid start to proceedings will surely start to make themselves felt as the gradient begins to bite. This ascent will take the race just over 2,000 metres above sea level. The mighty Albulapass, meanwhile, will bring riders to an altitude of 2315 metres.
120km remaining from 166km
Some 46 kilometres were covered in the opening hour of racing. The peloton is lined out on the lower slopes of the San Bernardino but the race has not fragmented just yet.
118km remaining from 166km
Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) was active from the moment the climb began and he has succeeded in pulling a small group clear. Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale), Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac), Carlos Verona (Orica-Scott), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) and Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates) have gone with him, and they have a lead of 20 seconds over the peloton.
Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal) and David De La Cruz (Quick-Step) have bridged across to swell the leading group to ten riders. They have 35 seconds in hand on the peloton.
117km remaining from 166km
As the escapees extend their lead to 40 seconds, De La Cruz begins to struggle and is distanced. The Spaniard is 15 seconds behind the leaders.
As De La Cruz is swept up by the peloton, Matvey Mamykin (Katusha-Alpecin) sets off in pursuit of the escapees.
115km remaining from 166km
Mamykin succeeds in bridging up the leaders. He joins Tomasz Marczynski, Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal), Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale), Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac), Carlos Verona (Orica-Scott), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) and Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates) at the head of the race, 1:15 clear of the BMC-led peloton.
113km remaining from 166km
The Tour de Suisse race website reports that Georg Preidler (Sunweb) and Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) have abandoned the race. There was at least one erroneous abandon reported via race radio earlier in the week, however, so we will try to confirm these departures elsewhere.
111km remaining from 166km
The break's lead nudges out to 1:50. Behind the peloton has been reduced to 50 or so riders as BMC set the tempo on the front in support of Caruso.
107km remaining from 166km
The San Bernardino seems to stretch on forever. There are still some 7 kilometres of climbing left for the escapees, who now have a little over 2 minutes in hand on the yellow jersey group.
104km remaining from 166km
An untimely puncture for Bart De Clerq as the break hits the upper ramps of the San Bernardino. The break remains 2:05 clear of the peloton.
102km remaining from 166km
De Clerq is quickly back up to the breakaway as they continue their steady progression towards the summit.
100km remaining from 166km
The ten leaders crest the summit of the San Bernardino with an advantage of two minutes over the peloton. A long, long descent and stint in the valley follows before the road begins to climb again at the base of the Albulapass with 24 kilometres to go.
Jan Bakelants led the break over the top, followed by Petilli and Cink.
97km remaining from 166km
The main body of the peloton - some 60 riders - comes across the summit 1:55 down on the escapees, while Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is in a sizeable group a further minute back.
Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data) abandoned on the San Bernardino, and we can confirm that Pantano and Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) have also brought an end to their races. Other reported abandons thus far are Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Georg Preidler (Trek-Segafredo) and Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal).
Over at the Tour of Slovenia, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) has claimed victory on the opening stage. Despite suffering from illness during the opening days, the Irishman came close on repeated occasions at the Giro, and finally gets a belated reward for his endeavours in Slovenia. It's his second win of the season after stage victory at Paris-Nice in March. Report and results will follow here.
85km remaining from 166km
A reminder of the names in the leading group of ten as they sweep down the descent off the San Bernardino: Matvey Mamykin (Katusha-Alpecin), Tomasz Marczynski, Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal), Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale), Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac), Carlos Verona (Orica-Scott), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) and Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates).
78km remaining from 166km
BMC marshal the peloton down this descent but without any particular urgency, and the break's lead extends to 2:45.
75km remaining from 166km
Another abandon to report as Alex Dowsett (Movistar) pulls out at the feed zone, 90 kilometres into the stage.
The break's lead means that Bakelants is the virtual race leader, incidentally, though with the Albulapass still to come, BMC do not seem to be unduly concerned by the Belgian's presence up the road.
60km remaining from 166km
Odd Christian Eiking (FDJ) crashes near the bottom of the San Bernardino descent, but the Norwegian quickly remounts and rejoins the peloton, which is now 3 minutes behind the leaders.
The latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast is online, and it's a transfer special as agent Martijn Berkhourt and team managers Luca Guercilena and José Azevedo weigh in on the state of the market ahead of the Tour de France. The podcast is available here and you can subscribe here.
Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen died earlier this week and Jeremy Whittle has penned this assessment of his defiant legacy at the head of the sport before and during the Armstrong era.
50km remaining from 166km
As the road flattens out in the valley ahead of the Albulapass, the break's lead has dropped to 2:10.
45km remaining from 166km
The ten leaders are on the long false flat that leads to the base of the Albulapass proper. They are still collaborating well, and their advantage over the bunch stands at 2:15.
BMC remain grouped at the head of the peloton in the service of Damiano Caruso, the overall leader. Caruso was helped by a fine cameo by Tejay van Garderen on Tuesday's first mountain stage, and he will need something similar from the American this afternoon on the Albulapass.
41km remaining from 166km
The escapees negotiate a brief descent as they proceed towards the Albulapass. Michael Woods and Philip Deignan were both climbing well at the Giro last month, and it be interesting to see what they have left at this juncture. The Albula is a slow-burning climb, but its length and altitude will eventually take their toll.
37km remaining from 166km
The long drop off the San Bernardino allowed for a regrouping in the main peloton. Peter Sagan, in the black jersey of points leader today, is safely back in the bunch, having been a minute back over the summit.
35km remaining from 166km
Sagan drops back to the Bora-Hansgrohe team car and crams some bidons down his jersey to distribute among his teammates. The Slovak's lone obligation on the Albulapass will be to make it over the top and get to the finish.
34km remaining from 166km
The escapees have 1:54 in hand on the peloton as they make their way towards the base of the Albulapass proper.
31km remaining from 166km
De Clerq leads the break through an uncontested intermediate sprint. Back in the main peloton, Steven Kruijswijk and his LottoNL-Jumbo team sit in the wheels behind Caruso's BMC guard.
29km remaining from 166km
BMC's pace-making has shaved the break's lead back to 1:24 as they long preamble to the Albulapass proper continues. Philip Deignan (Sky) has been particularly active at the head of this move. With the gap dwindling, one wonders if their unity will fragment as soon as the climb begins in earnest
27km remaining from 166km
Stefan Kung swings off the front of the peloton after a long stint of pace-making in the service of Caruso.
26km remaining from 166km
As the gradient begins to bite on the Albulapass, Simone Petilli accelerates from the break. Bakelants and Woods are immediately across to his wheel. This trio has opened a small gap over the rest of the break.
Larry Warbasse, winner at Villars on Tuesday, attacks from the main peloton. At the rear of the field, a number of riders, Sagan included, have sat up.
25km remaining from 166km
Warbasse is followed by Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky), and this duo has opened a small lead over the peloton. They are picking off riders who have been dropped from the early break.
25km remaining from 166km
At the head of the race, Michael Woods has forged clear alone, with Bakelants chasing behind.
24km remaining from 166km
Woods has 10 seconds in hand on Cink and a little more on the remnants of the break as he tackles a short cobbled section. The BMC-led peloton is a shade over a minute down.
23km remaining from 166km
Warbasse has dropped back, but Geoghegan Hart was joined by Jan Hirt (CCC Polsat), and together they have bridged up to Philip Deignan and Mamykin in the third group on the road.
21km remaining from 166km
Woods is tapping out a steady rhythm at the head of the race, and he has a lead of 40 seconds over the first chasing group, featuring Bakelants, Cink, Verona and De Clerq. Deignan, Geoghegan Hart, Hirt and Mamykin are 1:10 down, while the peloton is at 1:40.
20km remaining from 166km
Greg Van Avermaet sits up after his stint of pace-making for BMC at the head of a much-reduced peloton.
Jan Hirt attacks from the Geoghegan Hart group and looks to bridge across alone to Bakelants, Cink and Verona.
19km remaining from 166km
Woods is dealing well with the Albulapass. He has 54 seconds in hand on the chasers - though Cink may be a little closer, as the television cameras appear to be ignoring him - and 1:47 on the peloton.
Jan Hirt is grinding his way across to the first chasers, and has just picked off the dropped Bart De Clerq. Geoghegan Hart, who began the day 10th overall, continues to rider in the company of Mamykin, around 15 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group.
18km remaining from 166km
Steve Morabito (FDJ) attacks from the yellow jersey grou, which now numbers around 20 riders but might be about to fragment as riders respond to Morabito's acceleration.
A selection has been forced in the yellow jersey group, where Caruso is without teammates but riding strongly. Marc Soler (Movistar) sets the pace, with barely more than 10 riders on his wheel.
17km remaining from 166km
Michael Woods continues to ride well at the head of the race. The Canadian is 47 seconds clear of Cink, who has been joined by Hirt. The rest of the break is going backwards, and the reduced yellow jersey group is at 1:44.
16km remaining from 166km
It seems that Geoghegan Hart has been swept up by the yellow jersey group, which has grown to contain around 20 riders. This group is 1:35 behind Woods.
Marc Soler accelerates from the yellow jersey group, aided by his Movistar teammate Antonio Pedrero, who had dropped back from the earlier escape.
15km remaining from 166km
Woods has a little more than 7 kilometres of climbing to go, and he is showing few signs of tiring just yet. The Canadian has 50 seconds in hand on Hirt, who has just dropped Cink. The yellow jersey group, where Soler has been brought to heel, is at 1:15.
14km remaining from 166km
Mikel Nieve (Sky) and Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) force the issue in the yellow jersey group, but they can't shake off Caruso, who is shutting down everything. Kruijswijk, meanwhile, is staying rooted to Caruso's rear wheel.
Nieve attacks again, and this time it is Kruijswijk who leads the reduced yellow jersey group up to his wheel. Izaguirre repeats the dose as soon as Nieve is pegged back, and he opens a small gap.
The yellow jersey group is down to just 8 riders. Cink has been caught and leads Izagirre, with Nieve, Caruso, Pozzovivo, Kruijswijk Soler and Rui Costa lined up behind them.
13km remaining from 166km
Pello Bilbao (Astana) Mathias Frank and Simon Spilak manage to close the gap to the yellow jersey group, which expands to ten riders. They are 54 seconds down on Woods with 4 kilometres of climbing to go.
13km remaining from 166km
Hirt's pursuit of Woods has ground to a halt, as the Pole is about to be caught by the yellow jersey group.
Kruijswijk has been pedalling well, and the Dutchman lays down a determined attack. Izaguirre, Caruso and Pozzovivo follow.
Kruijswijk, Pozzovivo, Caruso and Izaguirre catch and pass Hirt. They have a small gap over the rest of the group of favourites, which is being led by Rui Costa.
12km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo takes up the reins. Izaguirre sits on his wheel, followed by Kruijswijk and Caruso. The yellow jersey has betrayed no signs of weakness thus far.
12km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo attacks from the yellow jersey group and opens a gap of around 50 metres. The Italian is 35 seconds behind Woods with a little under 3 kilometres of climbing left.
11km remaining from 166km
Woods has 32 seconds on Pozzovivo. Caruso, Kruijswijk and Izaguirre have been joined by Rui Costa, Spilak, Bilbao, Frank and Soler, and they are 44 seconds behind Woods.
11km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo is beginning to make real inroads into Woods' lead. He is just 20 seconds behind Woods and he's opening his gap over Caruso et al to boot.
Pozzovivo began the day third overall, 25 seconds behind Caruso. He now has 23 seconds in hand on the yellow jersey group and is moving in on the provisional overall lead.
10km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo closes to within 10 seconds of Woods, and he now has 30 seconds in hand on Caruso. The Italian is in the process of riding into the overall lead.
10km remaining from 166km
Woods climbs from the saddle, conscious that Pozzovivo is closing in. If the Canadian can make it to the summit - barely 500 metres away - in the company of Pozzovivo, he remains with a shout of stage victory.
9km remaining from 166km
Woods leads over the summit of the Albulapass, and is caught by Pozzovivo at the top of the descent. Woods is content to let Pozzovivo do the early work on the false flat before the descent proper to the finish in La Punt. The yellow jersey group is at 35 seconds. Caruso risks losing his yellow jersey to Pozzovivo.
7km remaining from 166km
Caruso has all of the other contenders around him, bar Spilak, who lost contact near the top, and, in theory, plenty of allies of circumstance to help close down Pozzovivo. For now, however, Caruso is doing all of the work in the yellow jersey group.
6km remaining from 166km
Leaden drops of rain fall on the descent. Caruso's efforts have helped to close Pozzovivo and Woods' lead to just 23 seconds.
6km remaining from 166km
Spilak, meanwhile, has managed to claw his way back up to the yellow jersey group.
5km remaining from 166km
The descent is fast and not very technical, but Pozzovivo has managed to open a small gap over Woods on the wet roads.
4km remaining from 166km
The road becomes more technical near the base of the descent, as the rain falls more heavily over the Tour de Suisse. Woods is closing the gap, but Rui Costa, in turn, is bringing the yellow jersey group closer to the leaders.
3km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo's aggressive approach to each bend sees him stretch his lead once more over Woods. The yellow jersey group is stretched to breaking point behind.
2km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo leads Woods by 6 seconds and the Caruso group by 20 seconds.
1km remaining from 166km
The rain is now bucketing down on the leaders of the Tour de Suisse. Pozzovivo's lead over Woods grows but the yellow jersey group is within 15 seconds.
Woods is caught and passed by the yellow jersey group.
1km remaining from 166km
Pozzovivo leads into the final kilometre. Jon Izaguirre leads the chase behind him.
Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) wins stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse.
Rui Costa wins the sprint for 2nd ahead of Izaguirre and Frank, 5 seconds down on Pozzovivo.
The yellow jersey group fragmented at the bottom of descent. Kruijswijk came home 13 seconds down on Pozzovivo, which should be enough for him to retain the yellow jersey, though we await confirmation.
It seems that Pozzovivo took 15 seconds in real time on Caruso and 10 seconds in time bonuses, meaning that they are both locked on the same time. I think it will come down to the fractions of seconds won and lost in the opening day time trial to separate the two Italians atop the general classification.
Domenico Pozzovio (Ag2r La Mondiale) is the new leader of the Tour de Suisse, at least according to the provision classification.
1 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 4:38:49
2 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:04
3 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:12
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:15
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:18
9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:00:21
1 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 22:03:28
2 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:13
4 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:22
5 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:23
6 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:35
7 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:54
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:19
9 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:42
10 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:02
After struggling two days ago, three-time winner Rui Costa showed signs of life this afternoon, and just 54 seconds now separate the top seven riders on general classification. As is so often the case in Switzerland, the margins are exceedingly tight as the race enters its final three days.
Tomorrow features a tough summit finish on the Tiefenbachferner, some 2780 metres above sea level. A short and potentially explosive hilly leg to Schaffhausen follows on Saturday ahead of the 28.6-kilometre time trial on the final day.
Thanks for following our live coverage on Cyclingnews this afternoon. A full report, results and pictures will follow here, as well as all the news and reaction from the Tour de Suisse. We'll be back with more live updates from stage 7 on Friday.
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