On a day featuring more than 4000 vertical meters, the Italian was part of the breakaway that went all the way to the line.
Sitting more than nine minutes behind the top of the general classification, Fausto Masnada had nothing to lose on the queen stage of the Tour de Suisse, which took the peloton over the Nufenenpass – the country’s highest paved road pass – before a tough summit finish on the 17.7km long Moosalp, a climb averaging 7.6%.
Winner of a stage at the Tour of Oman this season – a race which he concluded runner-up – the man who came close to winning Il Lombardia last year joined the breakaway and was one of the most active riders there, as the group built an eight-minute margin over the peloton. On the descent, the chasers clawed back time, but the escapees still had enough by the time they got to the bottom of the last ascent.
Fausto turned up the heat there several times, his powerful accelerations dropping all but one rider with three kilometers to go. Three of his former companions found a way back, and as a result, five riders went under the flamme rouge. Masnada led out, and despite giving his best, he ran out of steam after the huge effort he had produced the entire stage and finished fifth as Nico Denz (Team DSM) took the win.
“It wasn’t easy to go in the breakaway, but I did my best in the first part of the race. Then, on the last climb, I tried to drop the others, at one point I remained only with Denz for company, we had a good gap, but those guys who we initially distanced came back. In the sprint, I had nothing left in the legs. It’s not the result I wanted, but it’s still a good result after so much time without racing. It’s nice to be at this level and it encourages me to work even more in this direction”, the 28-year-old Italian said at the finish.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images