The Tour Take | Tour de Suisse Stage 8
1st – Arnaud Demare
2nd – Fernando Gaviria
3rd – Alexander Kristoff
A circuit race around Bellinzona held the final road stage of 2018, and though it was lumpy in places, there was never any danger of this one not ending in a sprint. The riders covered six laps of just over 20km, making for a 124km stage.
The final sprint was hectic, with a few big corners in the final kilometres; one at 2.1km, another at 1.1km to go. From there, the riders took a left hand bend into a 90 degree right-hand corner with 750m to go, and a long left hander to the finish.
Overall – Richie Porte
KOM - Mark Christian
Points – Peter Sagan
Young Riders – Enric Mas
A four-man break filled the time before our inevitable sprint, and it was comprised of Nathan Brown, Edward Dunbar, Willem Smit and Paul Ourselin. Their max gap only reached around 2 minutes, and they were all brought back with around 6km left. There were no KOM climbs on the course, and Smit won both intermediate sprints.
QuickStep looked to have the ascendancy in the run-in, delivering Fernando Gaviria perfectly to the line. However, Demare was surfing wheels, and just slightly got the edge on Gaviria. The two were neck and neck for the final 200m, however Demare just crossed the line first.
Alexander Kristoff finished third, with Sagan in fourth; Andre Greipel and Michael Matthews could only finish ninth and tenth. Sagan’s fourth place was enough to overhaul Matthews’ slender lead in the points competition, and he will take home the jersey.
10th – Michael Matthews (2nd on Points)
12th – Richie Porte (1st on GC)
13th – Jack Haig
14th – Nathan Haas
71st – Simon Gerrans
72nd – Adam Hansen
113th – Michael Hepburn
115th – Cameron Meyer
138th – Calvin Watson
The final stage of the Tour de Suisse is a 34km TT, covering a lot of the same roads as Stage 8. The first 20km follow that course, before looping off on a separate route for the final half of the stage. It’s flat, and will suit the TT specialists.
In terms of pure TT specialists, we don’t have a heap at the race. Stefan Kung will be looking to finish off the race on a high, having already spent a period in the yellow jersey. His teammate Richie Porte will also be gunning it to take the overall. Michael Hepburn might be sniffing around, so too Wilco Kelderman. As the only man with a bucketload of motivation, we’ll take Porte to win and wrap up the overall; he currently has a 17 second lead over Quintana.
See you back at the social club,