Australian Richie Porte kept the Tour de Suisse leader’s jersey in the BMC family after Wednesday’s first mountain stage, Swiss Stefan Küng relinquishing the yellow jersey after wearing it for four days. In the day’s finale, Diego Ulissi (Italy/UAE-Emirates) powered to the win, nullifying Mikel Landa’s late breakaway.

The Course

The riders would be ascending from the gun in Gstaad, climbing a Cat 1 before plummeting into a long valley section leading to the first HC-rated peak of the 82nd edition. The summit finish was atop Cat. 1 Leukerbad, a long and medium grade climb (14.1-km of 4.5 percent).

Early Kilometres

Breakaway after breakaway failed in the opening hour, with Romain Sicard the first to crest the opening Cat. 1.

With around 95-km to go from 155, a trio finally shook loose and another trio bridged over. Before it started up the HC Crans Montana, the sextet had a 2:30 gap. Küng suffered a flat and had to chase back on.

American champion Larry Warbasse of Aqua Blue Sport left the other fugitives behind on the Crans Montana, dreams of winning Tour de Suisse stages in consecutive years spurring him on.

The Summit Finish

Warbasse crested the HC 52-seconds ahead of his closest pursuer and then plummeted with 34-km to go. There was a chase group between the American and the peloton, which was coming fast. It would, in fact, be a French rider who would be the last to submit to the will of the BMC-whipped peloton.

After the capture, two riders skipped away, prompting Mikel Landa to attack with 6-km remaining. Although BMC worked to bring him back, Küng fell away. Even with Astana and Bahrain-Merida working to bring him back, the Spaniard gnashed his teeth in the headwind and stayed away until the 200-metres when Ulissi went around him for the Italian’s first win of the season. Landa lost a little time.

Porte now leads two Dutchmen from Sunweb, Wilco Kelderman and Sam Oomen, by 20-seconds at the top of the GC.

Thursday’s route includes two more HC climbs, but they’re nowhere near the finish.

2018 Tour de Suisse Stage 5
1) Diego Ulissi (Italy/UAE-Emirates) 3:37:31
2) Enric Mas (Spain/Quick Step) s.t.
3) Tom Jelte Slagter (The Netherlands/Dimension Data) s.t.

2018 Tour de Suisse GC
1) Richie Porte (Australia/BMC) 17:03:53
2) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:20
3) Sam Oomen (The Netherlands/Sunweb) s.t.

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