Steven Kruijswijk of Rabobank put in a fine attack from a little over 2km to win Stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse today. Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack was second with Damiano Cunego finishing second and retaining the race lead. The stage was overshadowed by Colombian rider Juan Mauricio Soler being airlifted to hospital with a suspected fractured skull following a crash 13km into the stage, with a spectator also said to be involved in the incident. The race was temporarily neutralised while the Movistar rider was treated, racing resuming with 111km left to ride.
The thoughts of everyone within cycling will be with the 28-year-old Soler, winner of Sunday's Stage 2, as well as the fan caught up in the incident, also reportedly taken to hospital. Tour organisers have said that an update will be provided at a press conference by medical personnel following the end of today's stage.
Last month, the Movistar rider's team mate Xavi Tondo was killed in a freak accident when he became caught between his car and garage door while setting of for a training ride. That tragedy occurred just a fortnight after Leopard Trek's Wouter Weylandt had been killed after crashing on a descent during Stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia.
Today’s 158km stage featured two Category 3 climbs before crossing the border into Liechtenstein for a summit finish at Triesenberg-Maldun following an Hors-Categorie ascent.
Some 10km after the neutralisation of the stage head been lifted, another crash caused a split in the peloton, the 60 or so riders who had been caught behind the incident having to chase to get back on to the leading group, which contained overall leader Cunego.
Once the race was back together, a trio or riders managed to break away, Quickstep's Sylvain Chavanel - who had also got into a break yesterday - Angel Madrazo of Movistar and Euskaltel-Euskadi's Insausti Izagirre, who was the loast of the three to be swept up as what was now and small and select leading group of a dozen or so riders including the big hitters in the general classification headed up the final climb.
With around 3km left to ride, Garmin-Cervelo's Tom Danielson was ruled out of contention after losing his chain, and shortly afterwards Damiano Cunego rode off the front of the lead group in response to an attack from Rabobank's Laurens Ten Dam, but the Italian was quickly chased down.
Next to chance his arm was Ten Dam's Rabobank team mate Kruijswijk, and this time the attack had much more promise, the 24-year-old Dutchman quickly establishing a convincing lead over his pursuers as the one-time Tour d'Alsace Prologue winner rode towards his first major win on the road.
It was a disappointing day for Leopard Trek, however, with defending champion Frank Schleck getting distanced by Cunego on the final climb despite the fact that it had been his team that had worked tirelessly at the front of the bunch for most of the day to keep the breakaway in check.
Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Result 1 KRUIJSWIJK Steven RABOBANK 04:12:03 2 LEIPHEIMER Levi RADIOSHACK +0:09 3 CUNEGO Damiano LAMPRE - ISD +0:18 4 MOLLEMA Bauke RABOBANK +0:21 5 CARUSO Giampaolo KATUSHA +0:21 6 SCHLECK Frank LEOPARD TREK +0:30 7 FRANK Mathias BMC RACING +0:30 8 TEN DAM Laurens RABOBANK +1:19 9 FUGLSANG Jakob LEOPARD TREK +1:27 10 DANIELSON Thomas GARMIN-CERVELO +1:42 Tour de Suisse Overall Standings after Stage 6 1 CUNEGO Damiano LAMPRE - ISD 21:26:28 2 MOLLEMA Bauke RABOBANK +1:23 3 KRUIJSWIJK Steven RABOBANK +1:36 4 SCHLECK Frank LEOPARD TREK +1:41 5 LEIPHEIMER Levi RADIOSHACK +1:59 6 TEN DAM Laurens RABOBANK +2:24 7 FUGLSANG Jakob LEOPARD TREK +2:45 8 FRANK Mathias BMC RACING +3:00 9 CARUSO Giampaolo KATUSHA +3:11 10 VAN GARDEREN Tejay HTC-HIGHROAD +3:22
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.