The new Irish Pro Continental outfit Aqua Blue Sport has certainly found the 81st Tour de Suisse to its liking, as Saturday’s stage saw the team add the King of the Mountains title to its Stage 4 win–its first WorldTour victory–by Larry Warbasse. Dane Lasse Norman Hansen wrapped up the KOM title with a strong defense. Peter Sagan earned his second bunch sprint triumph in Schaffhausen, his 15th career TdS stage win.
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) June 17, 2017
Stage 8 was a 100-km circuit race consisting of eight laps each with a Cat. 3 climb, 1.6-km at 4.2%.
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— Quick-Step Cycling (@quickstepteam) June 17, 2017
The key battle of the day was in the KOM competition, with leader Hansen only one point ahead of Roompot’s Nick van der Lijte and five ahead of Jan Bakelants (Belgium/AG2R).
Hansen and van der Lijte shuffled off in a quartet of escapees, with Hansen taking Round 1. The foursome’s gap was 1:35 after the first lap. Hansen took a three point lead over his Dutch rival after Round 2 and kept rolling up his gap over van der Lijte until he could finally relax after Lap 6, the TdS’s first Danish KOM.
— Aqua Blue Sport (@AquaBlueSport) June 17, 2017
Near the end of the penultimate lap, the breakaway was brought to heel. The slicing and dicing among the sprint teams was fierce. A strong move containing Tim Wellens, Greg Van Avermaet and Stage 3 victor Michael Matthews stole away. Their recapture seemed to only spur more attacks.
The action created a split, with 40-riders in the front group, Quick Step and Bora-Hansgrohe well represented. Sagan got the space and lead-out he needed to double up on wins in Switzerland. Only his 16 Tour of California wins surpass his TdS record.
Sunday is the conclusion of the Tour de Suisse, a 28.6-km time trial in Schaffhausen.
2017 Tour de Suisse Stage 8
1) Peter Sagan (Slovakia/Bora-Hansgrohe) 2:12:50
2) Sacha Modolo (Italy/UAE-Team Emirates) s.t.
3) Matteo Trentin (Italy/Quick Step) s.t.
2017 Tour de Suisse GC
1) Simon Špilak (Slovenia/Katusha) 26:02:16
2) Damiano Caruso (Italy/BMC) +0:52
3) Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands/LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:05
26) Michael Woods (Canada/Cannondale) +22:45