Thomas De Gendt attacked before the day's final climb to win Stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse this afternoon his Vacansoleil-DCM team's second victory of the week after Borut Bozic took Wednesday's Stage 5. The Belgian rider crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of Leopard Trek's Andy Schleck, who now tops the mountains classification. Jose Joaquin Rojas of Movistar took third place. Lampre ISD's Damiano Cunego retains the overall lead.
Both De Gendt and Schleck had been members of a 17-man breakaway that had formed early on in a stage played out on the roads of two of Switzerland's Alpine neighbours, starting at the Liechtenstein capital, Vaduz, and finishing at Serfaus in Austria following 222 kilometres of riding.
The Vacansoleil-DCM rider's win today is further evidence of his continuing development in a season in which he previously bagged the opening stage, and the race lead, of Paris-Nice.
A past winner of the mountains classification of the Tour of Britain, today's ascents were of a different nature altogether compared o the short, sharp climbs found on these shores, and included the Hors-Categorie Fluelapass, followed by a Category 2 climb ahead of the Category 1 Fisser-Hoffe, crested around 3km from the finish.
Meanwhile, Movistar has given an update on the condition of Mauricio Soler, who was airlifted to hospital yesterday after a heavy crash. The Colombian had been lying second overall.
"The news today are good,” said team doctor Alfredo Zuñiga in a statement on its website. “Mauricio is still at the ICU and his progress is being favourable. The cerebral edema, which is the most worrying thing, has gone through a slight improvement and that’s why we have to stay optimistic, even though we have to keep reservations because recovery in such processes is unpredictable.
"The 48-72 hours following the accident are crucial, but the first hours, which are even more critical, have been got over by him," he continued. "The progress of his neumotorax has been good, too. He also has multiple injuries and fractures, but the thing the doctors are more focused on now is the edema. He’s being cared by the best of hands and the attention by all people working at the Hospital St. Gallen is being phenomenal.”
Standings to follow
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.