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As it happened: UAE Team Emirates win again as Yates and Almeida cross line together

2024 Tour de Suisse stage 7 profile

2024 Tour de Suisse stage 7 profile (Image credit: Tour de Suisse)

Tour de Suisse 2024 - the complete guide

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the penultimate stage 7 at the Tour de Suisse.

It’s yet another mountainous day at the Tour de Suisse, and after yesterday’s shortened stage, we should get a full length one this time. That will mean four mountains in total - the Col de la Croix and Villars-Sur-Ollon, both tackled twice, with the latter hosting the finish.

This will be the last mountainous road stage of the race, with tomorrow's final stage bringing the race to a close with a time trial - although even that route is up a mountain. This is Switzerland, after all.

In such similar terrain as the stages that have preceded it, we can expect the usual suspects from this Tour de Suisse to again come to the fore - Egan Bernal, Eric Mas, Mattias Skjelmose, and of course the UAE Team Emirates duo of Adam Yates and João Almeida. 

The two riders themselves aren’t showing any signs of acrimony in public. Almeida said in an interview after winning yesterday that “As long as we do first and second, and it doesn’t matter who, then I think we’re both happy,” while Yates had no problem with being dropped by Almeida.

This isn't the only race taking place in Switzerland today. The opening stage of the women's Tour de Suisse concluded earlier - you can find out what happened here.

The riders are now moving in the neutralised zone. Not long until the race's official start.

118KM TO GO

The stage is actually starting at the top of the same climb it will finish at, Villars-sur-Ollon. From here they will soon start climbing yet higher in the sky, to the peak of Col de la Croix.

Although not quite as extreme as yesterday, today is another short stage — and this time by design. It’s only 118km long, with the organisers hoping for some fast, intense racing.

Attacks are being made, with Ion Izagirre, Anthony Perez, Kévin Vauquelin and Óscar Rodríguez going off the front, but nothing has stuck yet.

They’re climbing the Col de la Croix, and four more riders are off the front: Maxim Van Gils, Axel Laurence, Louis Vervaeke and Finlay Pickering. It’s a strong group, but of riders more known as puncheurs than pure climbers.

Others are getting involved too: Nicola Conci, James Shaw, Einer Rubio and Ben Tulett.

Incidentally, there are a couple of non-starters to report: Yannis Voisard of the Tudor Pro Cycling team, and Astana’s Samuele Battistella.

Of those attackers, Van Gils, Rubio, Conci, Pickering, Tulett and Vervaeke have formed a lead group, while another chase has formed behind them from new attackers.

The situation continues to be in flux. Now the lead group is made up of seven riders: Pickering, Van Gils and Rubio from the original group, now joined by Harold Martin Lopez, Valentin Paret-Peintre, Sylvain Moniquet and Johannes Staune-Mittet.

The summit of the Col de la Croix reached, the riders are now racing down the descent. After that comes a valley road, before they loop back to take on the Villars-sur-Ollon, before returning to where they started at the top and climbing the Col de la Croix again.

Finlay Pickering

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As for the King of the Mountains points, Moniquet was first to the Croix summit, followed by Van Gils, Lopez, Rubio and Pickering. None of these riders were anywhere in the classification (currently led by Yates) before today.

Bad news to report: Ion Izagirre has crashed, and is out of the race. 

100KM TO GO

The leaders still have only a small lead of over 20 seconds on the peloton - that is, what remains of the peloton. It's split into a few groups as they go down this descent. 

90KM TO GO

The slackening of pace in the peloton is also seeing it reform, with the groups that lost contact making their way back into it. 

Misfortune for Wood, who has punctured. That's bad news for Raul Garcia Pierna too, who's now left chasing all alone.

Peloton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wood is back in the peloton following his mechanical.

80KM TO GO

In the peloton, Ineos Grenadiers are leading. If any team is to spoil the chances of the break, it's them - they may have their eye on the stage win with Bernal, and/or challenging UAE Team Emirates in the GC. 

Bernal has 1-01 to make up to overtake Almeida on GC, and a whole 1-28 on Yates. It’s a big ask, but the Colombian has looked to be approaching his best this week, and another leap forward could see him put them under pressure.

Still just over two minutes between the leaders and the Ineos-led peloton. Raúl García Pierna is now very much stuck in no-man's land, about halfway in between. An unenviable position. 

The riders are approaching the foot of the Villars-sur-Ollon. We’ll get a better idea of their chance for the stage win on what direction the time gaps go on the climb.

70KM TO GO

The gap is continuing to come down, now to 1-40. The stronger climbers in the break will have to kick on if they don't want to get caught. 

Ethan Hayter is the man pulling for Ineos, and the peloton is thinning out.

A couple of surprising names are among those dropped - Lenny Martinez and Cian Uijtdebroeks. They started the race as two of the strongest climbers, and, though they have both slipped to 14th and 15th on GC respectively, this is very early for them to be dropped.

The peloton is riding in single file and getting smaller and smaller, showing how fast Ineos are setting the pace, yet the break's lead is standing firm at about 1-30. The 8 riders must have upped their efforts. 

The pendulum is swinging back towards the peloton, as the gap comes down to 1-20.

With 2 riders in the break in Van Gils and Moniquet, Lotto-Dstny are taking much of the pace-setting responsibility in the break. 

More racing news to report, as stage four of the Tour of Slovenia concluded a short while back. Read here to find out what happened. 

Interesting development in the break, as Jan Christen attacks.

Paret-Peintre is the first to follow him. 

60KM TO GO

Their time out front has not lasted long, though, and they've been brought back by the other six. 

The peloton has also heard the bell, barely a minute later than the break. 

Now Staune-Mittet is the next to try an attack from the break. 

Moniquet is leading the chase, but for now Staune-Mittet's lead is growing to a handful of seconds. 

Van Gils took maximum points over the Villars-sur-Ollona a few kilometres ago, from Pickering, Rubio, Staune-Mittet and Moniquet. They’re now approaching the start of the Col de la Croix again.

Staune-Mittet is looking good, extending his lead to 23 seconds. Can he maintain this pace when the road goes uphill again, though?

Peloton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The breakaway riders have officially started climbing Col de la Croix, and Staune-Mittet begins it with a lead of about half a minute.

Staune-Mittet is looking good, but the rest of the break are being dragged back by the peloton. They only have about 30 seconds of leeway, and it seems unlikely they will survive to the top of the climb. 

The break is breaking up. López and Moniquet are out the back, and have been caught already by the fast-approaching peloton. 

Now Christen is brought back.

And next it's Van Gils, Rubio, Paret-Peintre and Pickering. That leaves just Staune-Mittet out front, with a lead of 52 seconds.

There can't be more than 20 riders left in the peloton as they approach the top of Col de le Croix.

50KM TO GO

Johannes Staune-Mittet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's still Ineos Grenadiers leading the peloton, but they're down to just three riders after the climb - Bernal, Picdock and Rivera. 

Although as we speak, the Ineos riders have swung over and ceased leading.

40KM TO GO

UAE Team Emirates have taken control again of the peloton, and are setting a steady pace much slower than that of Ineos. Ineos' work was enough to bring back all of the break apart from Staune-Mittet, but so far nothing more than that. What's the plan from here?

Staune-Mittet's lead continues to grow as the pace in the peloton remains slow. It's up to 1-20 - maybe he has a chance of winning after all?

30KM TO GO

Peloton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The peloton has swelled to a much bigger size on this descent, from the 20 that were left at the top of the previous climb. It must be at least double that now.

20KM TO GO

UAE Team Emirates remain in control of the peloton. For help, Yates and Almeida have Marc Hirschi and Finn-Fisher-Black to set the pace. 

It looks like there are now at least 50 riders in the peloton. 

Johannes Staune-Mittet

Johannes Staune-Mittet, still leading the race. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Some inroads being made into Staune-Mittet's lead as he approaches the final climb. He now has just over a minute.

Ineos have resumed control at the front of the peloton as the road tilts uphill (albeit before the official start of the climb) Having done so much work earlier, they surely have to deliver a stage win, or at least try attacking the yellow jersey.

10KM TO GO

Now Staune-Mittet has officially started the final climb. His legs must be burning by now, having been out for so long.

The peloton is diminishing as they start climbing again too. Ineos are still leading it, with Rivera.

 Staune-Mittet pulling plenty of faces now as he pushes through the pain barrier. He only has a 35 second lead left though, unfortunaley.

Still no attacks from the peloton. Surely Bernal is going to have to go at some point?

There might not be any riders going out the front, but there are out the back. The peloton is down to about 25 riders.

Bernal moves to the front of the peloton briefly, not to attack, but to pick up 2 bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint, 5km from the finish. A smart move, but he'll need a lot more if he's to threaten the yellow jersey. 

A first attack from the peloton, and it's from Gall.

Nobody's followed Gall, and he's got a lead of a few seconds.

He's bearing down on Staune-Mittet, but not before the Staune-Mittet goes through the Tissot sprint to claim his watch.

Now Gall has passed Staune-Mittet and is at the front of the race, with just under 4km to ride.

Ineos aren't panicking, and Rivera is still setting the pace with Pidcock and Bernal keeping their nose out of the wind.

3KM TO GO

Yates, Kelderman and Riccitello are after him.

Those four are now all together.

They're a few seconds ahead of a small group containing the likes of Bernal and Pidcock.

Kelderman is being dropped by the other three, who have themselves just caught Gall.

And with Gall caught, Yates is upping the pace.

Only Almeida can follow Yates!

The UAE riders are flying away from the rest. Almeida also looks to be straining under the pace set by Yates. 

Riccitello is the next man on the road, with Kelderman close behind him. 

Riccitello stands to move up on the GC - he's poised to gain the 18 seconds he needs to jump from 6th to 4th, and could make inroads into the 1-14 he needs to overtake Bernal.

Final few hundredmetres for the UAE riders, who are still riding together. Are they going to sprint?

No they're not! They cross the line together, side-by-side, saluting each other.

Yates appeared to cross the line first, so will officially be the winner, but both riders were trying to hand it to the other as they approached the line. No signs of acrimony in the UAE Team Emirates camp.

Riccitello hung on for third place, 14 seconds behind, while Kelderman, Skjelmose, Bernal, Onley and Pidcock came home in a group together 2 seconds behind him.

Gall paid for his earleir efforts to finish behind in ninth, just ahead of Mas in tenth, who falls from fifth to sixth on GC as a result. 

The top ten in full:

And here’s how the GC looks as a result. There are two changes in the top ten, with Mas and Riccitello swapping places, and Kelderman replacing Sanchez in tenth.

Adam Yates

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Almeida was happy to let Yates take the stage win, and the four extra bonus seconds that come with it. If he falls four seconds short of the 31 he needs to overtake him in tomorrow’s time trial, he may live to regret that, but from the team’s point of view it’s a relief to see no tension between the two riders.

The race is therefore fascinatingly poised between Yates and the superior time trialist Almeida, with 31 seconds certainly not a safe lead for the former. Every other rider is now surely out of contention, and Bernal ends the day further adrift at 1-51, despite all the work done by Ineos Grenadiers today.

Yates certainly doesn’t sound confident of retaining his lead in tomorrow’s finale. “Tomorrow in the TT, he’s gonna put a minute into me,” he claimed in the post-race interview, “so I’m sure you’ll see him on this chair [as winner] tomorrow.”

Thanks for joining us today! Be sure to join us tomorrow for what promises to be a thrilling finale to the Tour de Suisse, as the UAE pair of Yates and Almeida showdown for the overall victory. 

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