For the second day in a row, our riders were protagonists in the breakaway.
One last mountain stage, featuring two tough classified ascents and over 3000 vertical meters, and one last opportunity for the climbers to gain time before the final stage ITT in Vaduz – that’s what the Tour de Suisse had in store Saturday, when for the second consecutive day, the Wolfpack animated the day from the break.
One of the main animators on stage 6, which he finished fifth after a solid outing on the climbs, Fausto Masnada infiltrated again in the day’s main move, only this time with his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl teammate Ilan Van Wilder for company. Having sailed away in the first ten kilometers of the stage, the group ensured themselves a nice buffer before the first hurdle of the day – Lukmanierpass (18km, 5.5%), a constant presence at the Tour de Suisse in recent years.
Despite the peloton gradually increasing the tempo, the advantage stabilized around four minutes and it proved enough for the escapees to battle it out on Malbun, a gruelling 12.8km ascent averaging 8.8%. As the road went up, Ilan had a tentative dig, but the others reacted and the group remained as one until nine kilometers to go, when three riders used a double-digit section to plug away. It was from here that Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) attacked two kilometers from the finish and took the victory, while Fausto and Ilan, despite emptying themselves on the closing part of Malbun, were overhauled by the favourites.
Remco Evenepoel came home just a couple of seconds behind the main favourites, in 12th place, and remains the team’s highest-ranked rider in the general classification, where he has a chance to gain some positions in the individual time trial which will bring the race to a conclusion.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images