The Tour Take | Tour de Suisse Stage 8

 Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

The Steps

1st – Arnaud Demare

2nd – Fernando Gaviria

3rd – Alexander Kristoff

 

The Parcours

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.

The Jerseys

Overall – Richie Porte

KOM - Mark Christian

Points – Peter Sagan

Young Riders – Enric Mas

The Break

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.

 

The Finish

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.

 

The Aussies

 

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

 

 

Next

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. 

The Pick

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,

Josh