Michael Woods was third place on Thursday’s first mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse. Richard Carapaz jumped into the lead with the stage win, beating Jakob Fuglsang in a two-up sprint on the summit finish.
You can watch the Tour de Suisse on FloBikes.
The first serious mountains stage of the Tour de Suisse kicked off with a Cat. 1, took a long descent, climbed almost imperceptibly for 100 km and ended with a Cat. 3, a Cat. 1 that served as the hardest climb of the day and an 8-km, 5.6-percent summit finish.
An exciting stage awaits at the #TourdeSuisse, where the riders will tackle three classified climbs.
The last of these, Leukerbad, averages 7% over 4.1 kilometers and should be the place where the main GC action will happen. pic.twitter.com/wnZDTLM3yb
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) June 10, 2021
The first climb, the Col de Pillon, elicited a breakaway that contained the yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel. Nick Zukowsky’s American teammate Gavin Mannion was involved too, and he snatched the maximum KOM points and the mountains classification lead from Zukowsky. Mannion and others went back to the peloton, but van der Poel carried on with three breakmates.
Second-place Julian Alaphilippe had his Deceuninck-Quick Step drive the peloton. Van der Poel’s escape reached the first of the three final climbs, Cat. 3 Varenstrasse, with a 1:17 gap. Van der Poel took two bonus seconds at the foot.
Erschmatt was the toughest climb of the day at 8 km of 8.4 percent. Israel Start-up Nation pulled the field to its starting slopes. Van der Poel faded back to rejoin it and then faded altogether. Antwan Tolhoek (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) skipped up the road to act as the rabbit.
Esteban Chaves’ attack was more of a concern. Ineos’ reaction fragmented the peloton. Chaves linked up with Tolhoek and then left the Dutchman behind.
Chaves clambered along within sight of the favourites group. With the Colombian approaching the peak, Jakob Fuglsang counterattacked. Woods led the chase. Chaves took over the mountains category on the road by cresting first. The Colombian got out of control on the descent and had to use a driveway as a runaway lane.
Chaves’ misadventure allowed Fuglsang to make the junction. The Danish-Colombian combination had only a slight advantage at the foot of the final climb. Chaves dropped away with 5.5 km to ascend.
After Woods wound up the pace, Carapaz attacked. Following a hesitation, Woods led the chase.
Carapaz found Fuglsang with 3 km remaining. Woods’ group was 30 seconds behind. Lucas Hamilton, Woods and Rigoberto Uran tried to whip up the pace, but in general the chase was unorganized.
It was a fine two-up uphill sprint between Fuglsang and Carapaz with the Ecuadorian taking the day’s honours and the race lead. Fuglsang’s efforts lifted him to second on GC. Woods was third, picking up a couple of bonus seconds. Alaphilippe incurred a 20-second penalty for an unauthorized feeding and dropped out of the top-3.
There are more mountains on order for Friday.
2021 Tour de Suisse Stage 5
1) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Ineos Grenadiers) 4:01:52
2) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana-Premier Tech) s.t.
3) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +0:39
2021 Tour de Suisse GC
1) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Ineos Grenadiers) 16:42:50
2) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana-Premier Tech) +0:26
3) Max Schachmann (Germany/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:38
7) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +1:32