Denz surprises Champoussin

While Clément Champoussin thought he had done the hard part at the top of Moosalp, Nico Denz snatched victory on the line. Jakob Fuglsang, after inheriting the Tour de Suisse leader’s jersey following the abandonment of Aleksandr Vlasov, was able to keep it against Geraint Thomas.

Clément Champoussin must have believed it for a few minutes but the photo-finish was ruthless. At the end of a river breakaway, the rider of the AG2R-Citroën team had to admit defeat against Nico Denz at the top of Moosalp during the 6th stage of the Tour de Suisse. A day that started with a thunderclap and the absence of 29 riders including Aleksandr Vlasov, leader of the general classification, due to a large epidemic of coronavirus in the peloton. They were therefore only 94 to take the start in Locarno for 177.5 kilometers of a course marked by two Hors Category climbs. Even before the first slopes of the Nufenenpass (21.6km at 6% average), a breakaway of twelve riders was able to form with Fausto Masnada, Nelson Oliveira, Quentin Pacher, Michael Matthews, Quinn Simmons, Nico Denz or Clément Champoussin. The peloton, led by the Israel-Premier Tech team of Jakob Fuglsang, who hastily put on the overall leader’s jersey before the start of the stage, first let things go with the gap that left approached eight minutes. However, the Astana Qazaqstan team had an idea in mind and upped the pace of the peloton, which then started to thin. Up front, Dion Smith was quickly left behind when Quinn Simmons took the opportunity to consolidate his jersey as leader of the mountain classification.

Denz frustrates Champoussin, Fuglsang still leading

Taking advantage of the descent and then the transition to the ascent of the Moosalp, the breakaway was able to keep almost six minutes ahead of a peloton taken over by Israel-Premier Tech. A final climb which saw the ambitions for the stage victory come to light. Fausto Masnada, Quinn Simmons and Nico Denz quickly isolated themselves at the head of the race, with the Italian who for a long time seemed in the best position to win at the top. The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team rider sped up, which landed Quinn Simmons. However, the pace of the leading duo was not very intense and four kilometers from the goal, Clément Champoussin and José Herrada were able to make the connection, imitated by Quinn Simmons in the last 1000 meters. The latter took advantage of the very long delay in the final to try to surprise his opponents but without success. A sprint that saw Clément Champoussin take the lead but, skillfully taking the inside in the last corner, Nico Denz went to steal the victory from the Frenchman by barely more than a guts ahead when José Herrada completes the podium. In the peloton, if Alexey Lutsenko tried to shake up the group of favorites, the latter essentially neutralized each other. Geraint Thomas tried to make the break in the final but failed to outrun Jakob Fuglsang, who retained the leader’s jersey.

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