Race report

Tiesj Benoot 13th after fast and explosive day in the mountains

Tour de Suisse

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The Tour de Suisse headed to the climbs today with a tricky 175 kilometre long route from Gstaad to Leukerbad on the menu, which featured a climb from the flag drop and two challenging ascents in the finish. It was an incredibly fast start to the stage as numerous riders looked to get into the day’s breakaway on the first climb, which resulted in lots of riders dropped from the peloton.

Eventually three riders escaped on the descent, including the yellow jersey, and with a fourth joining them they would form the break of the day. The peloton kept them close though, not allowing their advantage to grow much greater than two minutes, so the pace remained high. With the final two climbs approaching, the catch was all but made and the bunch charged onto the penultimate ascent.

After some good positioning work by the team, Andreas Leknessund and Tiesj Benoot were to the fore as the group drastically reduced in size, with the duo riding well together as the kilometres ticked by. Approaching the top of the climb, the pace was upped yet again and they had to let go of the wheels to not go too far into the red. On the descent and valley road, Leknessund dug deep and set a strong tempo for Benoot, before he fought valiantly and gave it his all to the finish, crossing the line in 13th place.

“I’m pretty disappointed with the day,” said Benoot. “On the second last climb I had some issues with my hamstrings which made me drop just before the top. Andreas helped me as much as he could on the descent and in the valley, before I went as fast as I could to the line. I am feeling good though, and hopefully with some good treatment tomorrow will improve. We’ll talk this evening about how we take on the next few days and go from there.”

Team DSM coach Marc Reef added: “Today was the first mountain stage of the race and our goal for the day was to support Tiesj as best as we could. It was a fast start, before three guys got clear on the descent of the first climb, with one more guy jumping across. There was then control in the bunch and a high speed as the race went towards the second last climb. The guys did well and we put Tiesj in a good position, when almost immediately from the bottom of the climb there was a fast pace. Just before the top there were some attacks and Tiesj had to let go of the wheels. Andreas was there to help him and they fought well together on the descent and in the valley, and on the last climb Tiesj pushed on as much as he could, crossing the line in 13th place.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers 4:01:52 60
2 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana - Premier Tech ,, 25
3 WOODS Michael Israel Start-Up Nation 0:39 10
13 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM 3:39 -
27 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM 4:54 -
55 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM 14:38 -
60 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
68 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 19:09 -
73 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
113 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM 20:07 -