Race report

All-in and on the attack at the Tour de Suisse

Tour de Suisse

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

A incredibly challenging stage in the mountains lay ahead of the peloton for the final day of action at this year’s Tour de Suisse, with a testing 160 kilometres to take on, starting and finishing in the town of Andermatt. Climbing from the gun, it was a ferocious start to the day with multiple attacks on the ascent of Oberalp Pass, with Thymen Arensman particularly active for the team.

On the descent, Søren Kragh Andersen displayed his good bike handling skills and attacked clear in a group, bridging to the lone leader at the head of the race. With the gap hovering at around 30 seconds, Tiesj Benoot and Andreas Leknessund made their move from the peloton alongside Küng. The trio worked together well and made contact with Kragh Andersen’s group on the next ascent of Lukmanier Pass. Not content, more attacks flew from the peloton and eventually more riders bridged to the front, making for a 15 rider group out front.

Their gap grew to two minutes and 30 seconds with 70 kilometres to go before some other teams in the peloton started chasing. Some disorganisation in the group saw their gap tumble before some brilliant and powerful riding by Kragh Andersen increased the gap, and the cooperation from those ahead returned. Proceedings were steady until roughly 35 kilometres to go when the attacks began out front, with Leknessund and Benoot riding superbly to make a front group of four. Driving into a headwind, the now organised peloton drastically began to eat into their gap and starting the last climb of the day, their advantage was less than 40 seconds. Despite Leknessund and then Benoot’s best efforts, both were caught on the slopes, with the GC riders in the peloton fighting it out for the stage win.

“I think we end the week on a positive note,” said Benoot after the finish. “Already in the first selection of nine we had three guys in the break. It’s a shame there was a headwind in the last long valley before Gotthardpass. Søren rode really strong on the front to keep the pace high and sacrificed himself before the attacks started. Me and Andreas then did well and made it into the front group but by the time we got to the bottom of the climb the bunch was really close. When I knew the bunch was there I just went at my own pace as we knew it wouldn’t be for the stage win anymore.”

Team DSM coach Marc Reef added: “I’m proud of the boys today, we really went for it. Before the stage we were 14th and 16th in GC. We had three goals today; try and move up on GC, take the stage result and try and secure the white jersey. We wanted to race aggressively to make that happen. We knew that we didn’t have the strongest legs in the race so we had to do it out of the breakaway. The guys did a really good job; and we had three of us in a group of nine before six others made the jump. We tried to work together but that didn’t really happen so we also sacrificed Søren to keep the gap like it was, so that we could go onto the last climb with an advantage. The attacks started and with Andreas and Tiesj we reacted sharply on them so we were in a good situation. In the bunch though, all of the teams that had someone in the top ten started to chase, which was a bit unlucky for us but we have to accept that. We still went for it but in the end the time gap was too close and they closed it on the final climb. As I said, I’m proud of how we rode: we had our goal and we went full for it, we committed to it, but in the end when you don’t get what you want, then that’s also elite sport.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 MÄDER Gino Bahrain - Victorious 4:06:25 60
2 WOODS Michael Israel Start-Up Nation ,, 25
3 CATTANEO Mattia Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:09 10
25 BENOOT Tiesj Team DSM 3:20 -
40 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 7:37 -
46 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 7:41 -
55 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 11:59 -
61 LEKNESSUND Andreas Team DSM ,, -
71 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team DSM 15:36 -
94 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team DSM 19:20 -