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Swiss joins four-rider break which finishes more than 10 minutes ahead of the peloton, and escapes under the flamme rouge to take the win ahead ahead of Hayman and Kolobnev

Photo: RadioShack-Nissan

GREGORY RAST

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TOUR DE SUISSE

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13.06.2013 @ 18:50 Posted by Philip Tarning-Andersen

On a day suited to either a sprint or a breakaway, Gregory Rast saved the race for his Radioshack team when he emerged as the strongest from a 4-rider escape in the 6th stage of the Tour de Suisse. Attacking under the flamme rouge, he left his companions behind while Mathias Frank (BMC) finished safely in the peloton 10.43 later to defend his overall lead.

 

Nothing has worked out for Radioshack Leopard in the early part of this year's Tour de Suisse but today the team got back on track and was justly rewarded for their aggressive racing. Gregory Rast was the strongest and smartest in a 4-rider breakaway and took a huge solo win on home soil.

 

Joined by Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Mathew Hayman (Sky), the Swiss escaped early in the stage and the peloton had apparently no interest in chasing them down. Their gap reached its maximum of more than 14 minutes with less than 30km remaining and so there was never any doubt that the escapees would decide the win amongst them.

 

With less than 4km to go, the break was still together and the cooperation smooth. That all changed when Grabsch attacked but Rast was quick to react and closed the move with Kolobnev and Hayman in tow.

 

A few hundred meters further up the road, Grabsch tried again but once again Rast was quick to react and the game of cat and mouse could continue. Hayman who on paper was the faster rider of the group, stayed in fourth wheel all the time.

 

Rast made a short skin-attack inside the final 2km of the race but got nowhere and the riders continued to glance each other down. With the flamme rouge in sight, Grabsch accelerated for the third time and now Rast was unwilling to chase him down. Kolobnev was, however, quick to react with Rast and Hayman in tow.

 

With Grabsch back in the fold, Rast countered just as they passed the flamme rouge and this time Kolobnev refused to react. He wanted Hayman to close the gap but the Australian was unwilling to do so. While they looked at each other, Rast quickly built up a huge gap and never looked back. He soloed across the finish line to take his first win since the prologue in the 2009 Tour of Luxembourg. 23 seconds later Hayman beat Kolobnev in the sprint for 2nd while Grabsch rolled across the fine a further 5 seconds adrift.

 

BMC had controlled the peloton for most of the day but inside the final 4km, Argos-Shimano moved to the front. The Dutch team wanted to test their sprint train and put John Degenkolb into 5th on the stage.

 

Georg Preidler and Tom Dumoulin beat out Saxo-Tinkoff and Vacansoleil in the battle for control and led the peloton under the flamme rouge. However, the Danish team had the numbers and went to the front with Daniele Bennati leading Matti Breschel out for the sprint.

 

The Dane did not have the power and instead it came down to a photo finish between Degenkolb and Peter Sagan (Cannondale). The Slovakian had the upper hand and so finished fifth to extend his lead in the points competition.

 

Mathias Frank finished safely in the bunch and so defended his overall lead. His task will be much tougher tomorrow when the peloton will tackle the race's queen stage. Starting at 16.55, you can follow the action on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

An aggressive start

The 187,9km stage from Leuggern to Meilen had a hilly profile and so it was up in the air whether it would be a sprint or one for a breakaway. Hence, most teams planned to go on the attack and the first part of the stage was raced at a furious pace while moves headed up the road.

 

The first escape to gain some ground involved Kolobnev, Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) and Reto Hollenstein (IAM). They were, however, reeled in and instead Luke Rowe (Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Jens Voigt (Radioshack), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Adrian Saez (Euskaltel) and Stefan Denifl (IAM) moved clear.

 

Cannondale reacts

That group was too dangerous for the Cannondale team which still had sprint ambitions at this point and so they closed it down. Instead, Grabsch, Kolobnev, Hayman and Rast attacked and they were allowed to go clear.

 

BMC started to control the peloton at a modest pace while the gap kept growing. With 70km to go, it was almost 14 minutes and as none of the sprinters' teams made any attempt to chase, it was clear that the break would stay away all the way to the finish. Instead, Martin Kohler and Greg Van Avermaet set a modest pace throughout most of the day.

 

No attacks from the front group

With the gap up to 14.45, the escapees started to climb the category 3 climb inside the final 30km but surprisingly no one used the opportunity to attack. Instead, the cooperation was smooth and the 4 riders also stayed together on the subsequent uncategorized ascent.

 

In the peloton, the pace had now picked as the teams jostled for position on the run-in to the climb. Marcus Burghardt (BMC) upped the pace on the lower slopes and later it was left to Michael Schär and Amael Moinard to set the pace. The gap now came down quickly and riders started to drop off.

 

No attacks from the peloton

No one was in any mood to attack though and so the peloton calmed down a bit as soon as they had crested the summit of the second of the two climbs. Moinard, Schär and Van Avermaet controlled the tempo on the final flat run-in to the line until the teams of the sprinters finally took over with 4km to go.

 

Up ahead, the cooperation was perfect until Grabsch made his first attacks with a little more 3km to go. That started off the final game of cat and mouse from which Rast emerged as both the strongest and the smartest.

 

Result:

1. Gregory Rast 4.23.53

2. Mathew Hayman +0.25

3. Alexandr Kolobnev

4. Bert Grabsch +0.28

5. Peter Sagan +10.43

6. John Degenkolb

7. Arnaud Demare

8. Ben Swift

9. Davide Cimolai

10. Tosh Van Der Sande

 

General classification:

1. Mathias Frank 20.31.06

2. Roman Kreuziger +0.23

3. Rui Costa +0.35

4. Thibaut Pinot +0.57

5. Bauke Mollema +1.08

6. Daniel Martin +1.23

7. Tanel Kangert +1.26

8. Jean-Christophe Peraud +1.28

9. Tejay Van Garderen +1.39

10. Cameron Meyer +1.42

 

Points classification:

1. Peter Sagan 55

2. Arnaud Demare 50

3. Alexander Kristoff 41

4. Matthew Goss 30

5. Gregory Rast 27

 

Mountains classification:

1. Robert Vrecer 19

2. Roman Kreuziger 12

3. Serge Pauwels 12

4. Jens Voigt 12

5. Alexandr Kolobnev 10

 

Sprint classification:

1. Enrique Sanz 13

2. Robert Vrecer 9

3. Gregory Rast 7

4. Alexandr Kolobnev 7

5. Jens Voigt 7

 

Teams classification:

1. Katusha 61.38.30

2. Astana +0.28

3. Movistar +0.58

4. Ag2r +1.00

5. BMC +2.12

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