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Tour de Suisse 2017: Stage 6


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:

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 Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) has withdrawn from the Tour de Suisse, citing fatigue, which is rather understandable.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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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As De La Cruz is swept up by the peloton, Matvey Mamykin (Katusha-Alpecin) sets off in pursuit of the escapees.

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Jan Bakelants led the break over the top, followed by Petilli and Cink.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jan Hirt attacks from the Geoghegan Hart group and looks to bridge across alone to Bakelants, Cink and Verona.

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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.

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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.

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Marc Soler accelerates from the yellow jersey group, aided by his Movistar teammate Antonio Pedrero, who had dropped back from the earlier escape. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Woods is caught and passed by the yellow jersey group.

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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.


General classification:

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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