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Tour de Suisse 2019: Stage 6


Hello there. A slightly delayed start to today's stage but we're now underway and in the early kilometres of stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse. It's the first summit finish of the race and, after a string of sprint battles, a shift in balance towards the race for the overall title. 

Some early breakaway attempts but nothing has gone clear just yet.

Here's today's stage profile, which may explain the fast and frantic start to proceedings. They're already going downhill, and there's one minor climb just past the half way point, but otherwise it's all about that final climb up to Flumserberg. At 8.5km at 9%, it's a tough one, but with little over 100km on the clock, everyone will hit it pretty fresh.

100km remaining from 120km

The leaders have one minute but it hasn't let up just yet. 

92km remaining from 120km

It's been a rainy start to proceedings but it looks dry at the finish now. 

Here's the composition of the breakaway

77km remaining from 120km

Before we really get into the business end of this stage, why not catch up on yesterday's action. Stage 5 report, results, photos in the link below. 

56km remaining from 120km

EF Education First are setting the tempo at the head of the peloton. Ineos have a couple of riders just behind, with plenty of Movistar jerseys a little further back. Max Richeze is also up there for Deceuninck-QuickStep. 

EF have Tom Scully up the road but they're still working, fancying the chances, perhaps, of Hugh Carthy. 

The breakaway riders are on the WIldhaus climb. It's a pretty steady one. 

Claudio Imhof is wearing the mountains jersey and will surely want to be first to the top to extend his lead in that classification. 

Into the final section and Haas attacks

Joyce follows, and Imhof hits out, too. 

Joyce comes around Haas to take maximum points. His teammate Gavin Mannion is in second place in the KOM standings so that was a clever move. Imhof settles for third. 

46km remaining from 120km

Bora hit the front of the bunch on the descent. 

Wow, a wrong turn in the break!

Trentin, Imhof, and Joyce have clipped clear on the descent and they see the marshal signalling the right-hand turn and take it accordingly. The rest of them, however, all continue straight on and overshoot. Ligthart frantically brakes and corrects but the rest of them choose to take the next right and cut through a forecourt. 

Trentin, Joyce, Imhof comes through the intermediate sprint. Trentin is first over the line but there's no contest. 

After that disruption in the break, the three leaders now have 35 seconds over their former companions. 

What can Fabio Aru do today? He only recently made his comeback from iliac artery surgery but is recovering quicker than expected and a good performance in the remaining stages could even see him drafted in to UAE Team Emirates' squad for the Tour de France. Meanwhile, it's touch-and-go - 50/50, to be exact - for their sprinter Fernando Gaviria, who's still struggling with a knee injury. Full story here

27km remaining from 120km

Scully has dropped from the break and is now working on the front of the peloton to help reduce the gap to his former companions. 

The pace has ramped up in the peloton. Mathias Frank has a fairly long chase back after a visit back to the team car. 

23km remaining from 120km

Trentin and Joyce sit up and are absorbed back into the breakaway group.

20km remaining from 120km

15km remaining from 120km

And now for the second of the two intermediate sprints. Trentin hits out this time and takes maximum points. Oss goes with him to try and take some points away in the interests of Peter Sagan but Trentin gets there first. 

13km remaining from 120km

The peloton continues its advance and the gap is down to 2:25. We're a few kilometres away from the foot of the climb. The GC contenders are going to take a fair bit of time back on the climb, so 2:25 looks a shaky advantage. Is there a rider in there who has hidden in the wheels and saved their resources?

King's move comes to nothing. He won two summit finish at last year's Vuelta a España and is one of the more likely winners from the break, along with Rui Costa and Antwan Tolhoek. 

Back in the peloton, Ineos no longer have Thomas but they do have Bernal. QuickStep are working now for Enric Mas. Movistar have Marc Soler. 

8km remaining from 120km

Imhof is dropped immediately. 

Tolhoek accelerates away.

Lluis Mas heads up to join Tolhoek as the break quickly explodes. 

The peloton hits the climb now, with a deficit of 1:45, and Sagan is quickly dropped. 

Oss, Kristoff, Arndt all, unsurprisingly, dropped from the break. 

Bevin leads a chase behind the two leaders. Stannard is there with the two AG2R riders and Costa. 

They're in ones and twos now in the break. 

Bevin makes it across to Tolhoek and Lluis Mas. 

6km remaining from 120km

Ineos take over now. The gap isn't coming down too quickly. 1:30 as it stands. 

Patrick Schelling attacks from the peloton. The Swiss national team are enjoying another active day. 

4km remaining from 120km

Stannard dropped from the first chase group. So just Bidard, Paret-Peintre, and Costa left in pursuit of Tolhoek, Bevin, and Lluis Mas. 

More attacks from the peloton and Movistar send Carretero to link up with Schelling. 

3km remaining from 120km

It's looking good for Tolhoek. He looks strong and there are no hostilities in the peloton with just under 3km to the line. 

Carretero drops back and leaves Schelling on his own. 

Tolhoek is cleanly away here. He has a handy margin already. 

Lluis Mas is dropped from the chase group. Bevin leading that group with Costa and Bidard. 

2km remaining from 120km

The peloton are moving quicker now. The gap to Tolhoek drops to one minute.

Action in the peloton! Ineos light it up.

Frank is dropped. 

It's Elissonde raging on the front for Ineos, setting up for Bernal. 

1km remaining from 120km

Can Tolhoek hang on? It's kicking off behind but probably too late. 

1km remaining from 120km

Bernal attacks!

Bernal has absolutely ripped out of the peloton and has just flown past Bevin and co.

I said it might be too late but Bernal is flying and even a hundred metres is a long way on a steep climb. 

Bernal is hunched over his bars giving it everything. No other GC riders can match him.

Bidard is trying to get back up to Bernal. Jan Hirt looks to have attacked for Astana. Pozzovivo is a little further back. 

Tolhoek heads into the final 400 metres. No time gaps on offer at the moment.

No looking back. It looks like he's got it in the bag. 

Here he comes, into the final 200 metres. A quick look over the shoulder...

And now into the final 100, and a smile breaks out as he punches the air. 

Tolhoek sits up, celebrates, and crosses the line. 

Antwan Tolhoek (Jubmbo-Visma) wins stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse

Bernal takes second place, 16 seconds down. 

Bidard hangs on for third place. 

Jan Hirt is the next of the GC riders, 11 seconds behind Bernal. Pozzovivo loses a further four seconds. 

Another GC group comes in 30 seconds down on Bernal, and it looks like it's Kelderman, Konrad, and maybe Dennis. 

Enric Mas finishes 1:08 down, so nearly a minute down on Bernal. 

Frank loses more than three minutes. 

That's a first professional victory for Tolhoek, the 25-year-old pocket climber from Holland. He had a disappointing Giro d'Italia, where he was riding for Primoz Roglic, but has made amends here.  

Top 10

General classification after stage 6

Let's hear from Tolhoek

Here's our report page

Breaking: Tom Dumoulin will not ride the Tour de France

That's it from us for today. Tomorrow we have a bigger mountain stage and a bigger summit finish. Should be a cracker. Hope you'll join us again. Bye. 

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