Aleksandr Vlasov assumed the race lead at the Tour de Suisse with the stage 5 victory, outsprinting Neilson Powless (EF Education EasyPost), Jakob Fuglsang (Israel – Premier Tech) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to continue Bora-Hansgrohe’s purple patch.
A punchy finishing circuit on the second half of the course saw the contenders for the overall finally duke it out in Novazzano near the Italian border. Except for Remco Evenepoel, the Belgian was dropped on an uncategorised climb with 20km still to go, fighting to get back on before he was distanced for good on the final ascent of the Pedrinate. Across the line he’d lost more than two minutes.
With Stephen Williams (Bahrain-Victorious) also distanced early in the stage, the race lead was up for grabs as the peloton was reduced to two dozen riders on the run-in. Further selections were then made, Fuglsang trying to go solo but the Dane was brought back for a final sprint, won by Vlasov, who now leads Fugslang by six seconds in the general classification. Thomas sits third, a further one second in arrears.
More than a dozen riders failed to take the start on stage 5 as positive Covid cases swept through the bunch, taking out the entire Jumbo-Visma squad as multiple riders on the Dutch team tested positive, three from DSM, as well as Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) and American road race champion Joey Rosskopf (Human Powered Health).
Others, such as Quick-Step AlphaVinyl’s Kasper Asgreen, have been forced out due to crash-induced injury, the Dane’s bid for opening day Tour de France yellow at a home Grand Départ in two weeks now looking complicated.
Two big mountain days follow at the tour de Suisse before a final day time trial to decide the overall winner.
Tour de Suisse (2.UWT) Ambri → Novazzano
BORA - hansgrohe