Pinot again victorious

After winning a stage of the Tour des Alpes, Thibaut Pinot signed his second success of the year on the occasion of the 7th stage of the Tour de Suisse. On the attack on the climb to Malbun, Sergio Higuita grabbed the leader’s jersey on the eve of the final time trial.

Thibaut Pinot stands out at the best time. Two weeks before the start of the Tour de France, on which he aims to seek stage victories, the leader of the Groupama-FDJ formation raised his arms as winner for the second time of the season at the occasion of the 7th stage of the Tour de Suisse. A 196.4 kilometer long mountainous route between Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the start of which was downhill and gave ideas to the brave. However, for almost 40 kilometres, all breakaway attempts proved futile. The success of this penultimate stage was initiated by Nelson Oliveira and Clément Champoussin, quickly joined by Baptiste Planckaert then by several groups. A total of 20 riders received an exit slip from the peloton led by the Israel-Premier Tech team, including Alexey Lutsenko, Thibaut Pinot, Mathieu Burgaudeau, Fausto Masnada, Michael Matthews, Ion Izagirre and Ilan Van Wilder. The peloton then decided to let go while Baptiste Planckaert was ultimately unable to keep up with the breakaway.

Pinot, a first stab in the water

On the slopes of the Lukmanierpass (18km at 5.5% average), Thibaut Pinot and Clément Berthet upped the pace and blew up the breakaway. However, after passing the summit in the lead, the two Frenchmen saw most of their breakaway companions make the connection on the descent. With a lead of more than seven minutes, it then became clear that the leading group would explain themselves for victory atop Malbun. The long transition between the foot of the descent and the first slopes of the last difficulty was marked by two less demanding climbs but which nevertheless allowed the peloton led by the teammates of Jakob Fuglsang but also the Ineos Grenadiers team to reduce small- Little by little the gap, which approached three minutes as we approached the final 12.8 kilometer long climb in Liechtenstein soil. After having worked hard, Michael Matthews and Clément Champoussin were the first left behind. It was then Alexey Lutsenko who started the hostilities ten kilometers from the goal, followed by Ion Izagirre while Ilan Van Wilder tried to hang on in vain.

Pinot best manager, Higuita fragile yellow jersey

The Spanish rider from the Cofidis team ended up isolating himself at the head of the race and then held his pursuers more than 30 seconds away. However, Ion Izagirre very quickly showed signs of fatigue while Thibaut Pinot decided to manage his climb. A strategy that paid off because, after picking up and dropping off Lutsenko, the Groupama-FDJ rider did the same with the Spaniard as he approached the last two kilometers. After the last stage of the Tour des Alpes, Thibaut Pinot was not seen again and raised his arms as the winner during this 7th stage of the Tour de Suisse ahead of Oscar Rodriguez, who finished very strong, and Alexey Lutsenko. In the group of favorites, Daniel Felipe Martinez blasted Geraint Thomas’ rivals one by one except Jakob Fuglsang and Sergio Higuita. The Colombian got on his pedals in the last two kilometers then the Briton left the wearer of the yellow jersey behind. Eleven seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas on the line, Sergio Higuita took first place in the general classification but his yellow jersey was very fragile. Indeed, the Bora-Hansgrohe team rider will only have a two-second lead at the start of the final time trial, scheduled for Sunday in Vaduz.


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