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Pantano beat Chernetskii and Izagirre in a 7-rider sprint to win the final stage of the Tour de Suisse; Lopez finished fourth and took the overall win, with Izagirre and Barguil completing the podium

Photo: Sirotti
















19.06.2016 @ 18:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) took the first big win of his career when he came out on top in a 7-rider sprint at the end of a shortened final stage of the Tour de Suisse. Having joined the attacks on the Flüelapass, he was part of a group that caught Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) on the descent and finally beat Sergey Chernetskii (Katusha) and Ion Izagirre (Movistar) in the final dash to the line. Lopez took the overall victory ahead of Izagirre and Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) as Andrew Talansky (Cannondale) lost ground and slipped to fifth.


After the first mountain stage, it looked like the Tour de Suisse would end as a bit of a disaster for the local IAM team. Having designed a team to support Mathias Frank fully, the team suddenly lost their leader due to illness and it looked like they would end the race empty-handed.


However, Jarlinson Pantano was ready to grab an unexpected chance and he rose to the challenge during the next mountain stages where he emerged as one of the best climbers in the race. With a great time trial yesterday, he even went into today’s final stage with a fifth place to defend.


However, the Colombian wanted more than that. Known as a very fast finisher, the downhill run from the Flüelapass to the finish in Davos made it a perfect stage for the IAM rider if he could again follow the best on the climbs. Only Miguel Angel Lopez turned out to be stronger and as he joined forces with a strong group, Pantano and a few companions caught the race leader on the descent. That was the perfect scenario for the IAM rider who held off Sergei Chernetskii and Ion Izagirre in the sprint from a 7-rider group.


The other big winner of the day was Miguel Angel Lopez. His bid for the stage win failed as he was brought back on the descent but he confirmed his status as the best climber in the race and deservedly won the race. Ion Izagirre moved into second and Warren Barguil into third as Andrew Talansky emerged as the big loser, losing ground first on the climb and later on the wet descent to slip to fifth in the final standings.


The day had started dramatically as bad weather forced the organizers to shorten the 117.7km stage around Davos. The riders were originally set to climb both the Albulapass and the Flüelapass but the first climb was skipped and instead the riders started the 57.7km stage in La Punt at the bottom of the first descent. A short, flat section then led to the bottom of the HC climb of Flüelapass whose summit was located just 17.5km from the finish. Then a non-technical descent led to five flat kilometres in the end.


The riders actually had sunny weather when they gathered for the start where Tiesj Benoot, Tosh van der Sande, Pim Ligthart, Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Michael Matthews, Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) were all missing. The rest of the peloton got the race off to a very fast beginning as there were lots of attacks.


A Roth rider attacked as soon as the flag was dropped before a Lampre-Merida rider surged clear. Maximiliano Richeze, one of his Etixx-QuickStep teammates and Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha) then got clear but that trio was brought back after a few kilometres of freedom.


Matthias Krizek (Roth) tried and Michal Golas (Sky), Sam Bewley (Orica-GreenEDGE) and a few more were active in the next move. However, they had no luck either and it all came back together after 5km of racing.


Magnus Cort (Orica-GreenEDGE) launched the next attack and he was joined by Jasper Stuyven (Trek) and Maximilano Richeze (Etixx-QuickStep). The trio got a relatively big advantage as there was some hesitation in the peloton until the attacks started again. Christian Knees (Sky), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot) and Toms Skujins (Cannondale) were among the riders to try but they failed to get clear.


Jonas Koch (Verva) made an unsuccessful attempt to bridge across before Etixx-QuickStep made it into a trio that also failed to get clear. The group briefly slowed down and so the gap had gone out to 15 seconds when Richeze increased his lead in the points competition by leading Cort and Stuyven across the line in the first intermediate sprint.


Kevin Reza (FDJ) launched the next attack and was joined by first Michal Golas (Sky) and then Maciej Paterski (CCC). They briefly looked like they were getting clear but with 40km to go, the peloton brought them back.


There were a few more attacks before Astana managed to calm things down and as Alessandro Vanotti and Gatis Smukulis started to ride tempo, the gap went out to 30 seconds. It was even 40 seconds when Richeze led Cort and Stuyven across the line in the final intermediate sprint.


Light rain started to fall as the fight for position intensified, with Giant-Alpecin, IAM, Cannondale and LottoNL-Jumbo lining up next to the Astana riders. Nonetheless, the front trio had increased the advantage to a minute as they hit the Flüelapass.


Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo) led the peloton onto the climb and then it was Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo) who made the peloton explode. When he swung off, the pace briefly went down and that allowed Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Katusha) to attack.


Further up the road, Stuyven dropped his companions. Richeze sat up but Cort tried to make it back to the Belgian. However, the Dane soon cracked and left it to the Belgian to continue the attack.


Astana took control with Davide Malacarne and he brought Richeze and Kozontchuk back. When he swung off, Michele Scarponi took over and he sent several riders out the back door, including Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) and Martin Elmiger (IAM). Surprisingly, Geraint Thomas (Sky) also lost contact.


David Lopez (Sky) attacked and sprinted past the fading Stuyven who was brought back. He managed to build an advantage of 10 seconds.


Tejay van Garderen (BMC) wanted to win the race and he asked teammate Darwin Atapuma to up the pace. Surprisingly, race leader Miguel Angel Lopez slipped to the rear end of the group.


Van Garderen opened a gap behind Atapuma who was joined by Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Matvey Mamykin (Katusha). Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida) and Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data) also joined the group but Scarponi realized the danger and quickly shut it down.


Atapuma went back to work for BMC while Lopez managed to increase his advantage to 15 seconds. Mamykin was next to take charge and he slowly started to reel Lopez in while Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r) got dropped.


Hubert Dupont (Ag2r) attacked 5km from the top and quickly passed Lopez who was caught by the peloton. Moments later, Simon Spilak (Katusha) attacked and he joined Dupont. Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) bridged across and finally Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) also made the junction.


That trio was too dangerous for Lopez who launched a strong solo attack and he helped Dupont rejoin the group as he made it across with the Frenchman who had briefly been dropped. However, the Ag2r rider had to surrender.


Tejay van Garderen (BMC) made it across to make it a front quintet and as Lopez went full gas, Spilak and Costa were dropped. In the peloton, Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) was leading the chse and he sent Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) out the back door.


As Joe Dombrowski took over the pace-setting for Cannondale, Spilak was brought back The group had now been whittled down to just Izagirre, Anacona, Dombrowski, Talansky, Spilak, Chernetskii, Barguil, De La Parte and Cieslik.


Anacona and Dombrowski started to trade pulls, keeping the gap at around 20 seconds. They brought Costa back and distanced Spilak.


With 19km to go, Lopez proved his class as he simply rode van Garderen and Pantano off his wheel. One kilometre from the top, he had increased his advantage to 35 seconds and put 20 seconds into his two chasers.


Victor de La Parte and Ion Izagirre attacked and made it across to van Garderen and Pantano. Sergey Chernetskii also made the junction while Dombrowski, Talansky, Barguil, Costa and Anacona stayed further back.


Lopez was the first to crest the summit before de la Parte led Izagirre, Pantano, van Garderen and Chernetskii across the line 32 seconds later. The Talansky group was 10 seconds further adrift.


The wet roads made the descent dangerous and this allowed Costa and Barguil to ride away. They quickly passed De La Parte who had been dropped from the chase group.


Lopez had no chance to hold off his chasers as Pantano, van Garderen and Izagirre traded pulls and with 9km to go, the Colombian was brought back. Izagirre tried his best to make a difference on the descent but as there were no technical challenges and they rturned to dry roads, the group was still together as they hit flat roads with 5km to go.


With 3.5km to go, Pantano tried to attack but Izagirre shut it down immediately. The Basque kept riding on the front before van Garderen and Pantano came through to take turns.


Izagirre was clearly riding for second place and set the pace for the final 2km. Costa and Barguil were approaching from behind and they made the junction just as the sprint was launched.


Izagirre didn’t slow down and that allowed Pantano to start his sprint just at the right time. Chernetskii tried to come around but ran out of metres and so had to settle for second, with Izagirre crossing the line in third. Talansky, Dombrowski and De La Parte arrived 52 seconds later.


The result saw Lopez take the overall victory with a 12-second advantage over Izagirre as Barguil moved into third, 18 seconds adrift, Panton into fourth and Talansky slipped to fifth. Richeze won the points jersey and Antwan Tolhoek (Roompot) was the best climber. Martin Elmiger (IAM) was the best Swiss rider and Katusha won the teams competition.


With the Tour de Suisse done and dusted, attention turns to the national championships which are held in most of Europe during the next week. The next WorldTour race is the Tour de France which starts on July 2.



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