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With a dominant ride, Izagirre beat Lopez and Cancellara in the Tour de Suisse time trial; Lopez did the TT of his life to move into yellow with an 8-second advantage over Talansky

Photo: BettiniPhoto.net

ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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ION IZAGIRRE

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MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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TOUR DE SUISSE

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18.06.2016 @ 18:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ion Izagirre (Movistar) confirmed that he is one of the best time triallists in the world when it comes to a medium-length, lumpy course as he crushed the opposition in stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse. Stopping the click in 21.31, he was 18 seconds faster than Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), with pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara (Trek) one second further adrift in third. Lopez did the TT of his life to take the yellow jersey with an 8-second advantage over Andrew Talansky (Cannondale).

 

One-week stage races on the WorldTour are usually decided by a combination of good climbing legs and strong time trialling skills in hilly time trials of medium length. Known as one of the best riders in the world for the latter discipline, Ion Izagirre has shelved all grand tour ambitions and aims to become one of the best riders for the shorter stage races.

 

After several near-misses, he opened his account in 2015 when he won the Tour de Pologne and also finished third in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. This year he has confirmed his potential by taking fifth at Paris-Nice and third at the Tour de Romandie and this naturally made him one of the favourites for this week’s Tour de Suisse.

 

Unfortunately, Izagirre got the race off to a bad start as he lost time in the first mountain stage but since then he hasn’t lost much time. Today he moved firmly back into winning contention by delivering one of the best time trials of his life, crushing the opposition on the 16.8km course in Davos.

 

Fabian Cancellara was aiming for the victory in the final Tour de Suisse time trial of his life and had duly set the best time. Having survived scares from Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) who both got close to his time of 21.50, he was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the final riders.

 

A change in the wind conditions made it hard to use the time checks as the GC contenders were all far behind at the two first checks and then moved up in the second half. However, when Izagirre passed the second check in the fifth best time, it was clear that he was on track for a great performance.

 

When he reached the top of the late climb, the Basque was no less than 11 seconds faster than the local hero and as he bombed down the descent, he added another 8 seconds to his advantage and moved comfortably into the lead. He now just had to wait for three riders to arrive and among them only Andrew Talansky was expected to pose a threat.

 

Talansky confirmed his good form with a fifth place that saw him move into the virtual lead with an 8-second advantage over Izagirre and with only tiny climbers Miguel Angel Lopez and Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) still on the course, he probably believed that the yellow jersey was his. However, Lopez did the time trial of his life and delivered a major shock when he reached the finish in 21.49 to go one second faster than Cancellara, take second place on the stage and move into the lead with an 8-second advantage over Talansky.

 

In general, it was a day of surprises for the climbers as Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) finished 7th to defend his top 5 overall. However, there was no glory for Barguil who slipped to fourth in the overall standings as he could only manage 21st.

 

The stage was another disappointment for Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) who was unable to back up yesterday’s great performance with a good TT. Thomas and van Garderen had to settle for 9th and 10th respectively and they are both outside the top 5 on GC.

 

Lopez now leads Talansky b8 seconds with, Izagirre in third at 16 seconds. With small time gaps, the scene is set for an excellent final stage. On the last day, the riders face a short, intense mountain stage that will see them go up the mighty HC climbs of Albulapass and Flüelapass. The summit of the final climb comes just 17.5km from the finish and from there it is downhill almost all the way to the line.

 

A lumpy course

After three consecutive summit finishes, it was time for the time trial at the Tour de Suisse. The 16.8km course around Davos had a mostly flat start as the riders rode along the river. In the second half, they went up a 3km climb before the descended to a short flat section in the end.

 

Surprisingly, the weather was good when Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. The Pole had been looking forward to the stage for days and therefore it was no surprising that his time of 22.18 was to last a long time.

 

No threat for Bodnar

The first rider to be within three minutes of Bodnar’s time was Coli Stüssi (Roth) who stopped the clock in 24.28 and thus posted the second best time. Valentin Baillifard was just seven seconds slower and so there were briefly two Roth riders in the top 3. However, they were beaten by Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC), who w less than one minute slower than Bodnar ith 23.15 was and he pulled Kiel Reijnen (Trek) into third place as the American followed him in the final part.

 

Juraj Sagan (Tinkoff) set a time of 23.54 which was enough for a provisional third place but he was quickly pushed down one spot by Twan Castelijns (LottoML-Jumbo) who was 25 seconds faster. Gatis Smukulis (Astana) also did well as his time of 23.32 was enough for a provisional fourth place.

 

Fine ride by Sagan

Jesse Sergent (Ag2r) had been faster than Bodnar at one of the time check but at the finish he had to settle for second place in 22.49. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) was one second faster and thus two Tinkoff riders were now in the top 2.

 

Evgeny Petrov (Tinkoff) got a place in the top 10 with 24.01 and also Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep) managed to squeeze into the top 10 with a time of 24.08. However, it was his teammate Yves Lampaert who was the first threat to Bodnar. The Belgian was quicker than the Pole at the second intermediate time but at the finish he missed out by nine seconds.

 

Cancellara takes the lead

Magnus Cort (Orica-GreenEdge) rode into a fine 9th place, but he was beaten by Sam Bewley (Orica-GreenEdge) who was seventh best with a time 23.32. Davide Villella (Cannondale) was also briefly in the top 10 with 23.44 before Jasper Stuyven (Trek) took 6th place with a time of 23.23.

 

However, it was the local hero Fabian Cancellara (Trek) that everybody was waiting for, and he did not disappoint. After setting the best time at all the time checks, he beat Bodnar by no less than 28 seconds with a time of 21.50,

 

No glory for Brändle

Matthias Brändle (IAM) was regarded as the first threat to Cancellara but he had to settle for third place with 22.24. Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) also failed as his time of 22.38 was only enough for fifth place. Iljo Keisse (Team Quick Step) posted the 10th best time but slipped out of the top 10 just one minute later when a strong Dylan Teuns (BMC) moved into 8th place with 22.54.

 

Julien Vermote (Etixx-QuickStep) posted the 10th best time of 23.08 but he was quickly pushed out of the top 10 by Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha) who was one second faster. Jhonatan Restrpo (Katusha) did even better as his time of 22.45 was good enough for 7th.

 

Castroviejo gets close

Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar) was the next rider to make it into the top 10 with a time of 22.53 but it was Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) who was the first big threat for Cancellara. The Australian had been five seconds behind the Swiss at the final two time checks but he had to settle for second place with a time loss of six seconds.

 

Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) turned out to be an even bigger threat as he was just one second behind Cancellara at the final time check, having gone 9 seconds faster up the climb. However, he lost some time on the descent and in the end he had to settle for second with 21.55, five seconds slower than Cancellara.

 

Grossschartner surprises

Laurent Pichon (FDJ) had a surprisingly good ride to take ninth with 22.45 and Leopold König (Sky) consistently improved from time check to time check and crossed the line in fifth place with 22.22. Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) delivered a major surprise as he posted the fourth best time22.13.

 

Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep) rode strongly to seventh with 22.23 and Martin Elmiger (IAM) did well to slot into 10th with 22.35. However, it was Felix Grossschartner (CCC) who delivered the next major surprise, stopping the clock in 22.05 to slot into fourth.

 

Near-miss for Kelderman

World champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) had to settle for sixth with 22.14 after having consistently moved up throughout the stage before Victor de la Parte (CCC) continued the great day for his Polish team by posting the 8th best time with 22.20. There was disappointment for Costa as he could only manage 12th with 22.24.

 

Cancellara got a big scare when Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) arrived on the finishing straight. Having been nine seconds behind at the time check, the Dutchman powered down the descent to move into seconds, just 2 seconds behind the Swiss leader.

 

Izagirre wins the stage

Geraint Thomas (Sky) rode consistently to take fifth which was one second faster than Tejay van Garderen (BMC). It was a bad day for defending champion Simon Spilak (Katusha) as he could only manage 17th with 22.34.

 

Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) did the time trial of his life to slot into fourth with 21.56 but it was Izagirre that everybody was waiting for. Having passed the final time check with an 11-second advantage over Cancellara, he extended it to 19 seconds at the finish to take a comfortable lead.

 

Talansky rode himself into the virtual yellow jersey by taking fourth in 21.54 but it was Lopez who delivered the surprise of the day. Stopping the clock in 21.49, he slotted into second and as Barguil had to settle for 21st with 22.28, it was enough to take the lead.

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