On the penultimate stage of the World Tour event, the young Czech showed the improvements he has made in the race against the clock.
Unlike previous editions, the second and final individual time trial of the 2016 Tour de Suisse was much shorter, but it doesn't mean it was also much easier, despite the fact the riders had to cover only 16.8 kilometers. Held around Davos, in the Graubünden canton, the course awaited the riders with several lumpy sections, including a 3-km climb which averaged 5%, and had two focal points: the fight for victory and the battle of the GC contenders, who knew this was the penultimate opportunity to gain time on their rivals.
First rider of Etixx – Quick-Step to crack the provisional top 10 on stage 8 was Yves Lampaert, who at one point had the second best time. With many of the favourites starting late, Yves lost some places, but the team continued to be represented in the upper part of the standings thanks to Petr Vakoč. Last Etixx – Quick-Step rider to roll down the ramp, the Czech road race champion rode hard and gave it all, stopping the clock in 22:23, less than one minute behind Ion Izagirre (Movistar), who cruised to the win ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), the new leader of the overall standings.
Last stage of the Tour de Suisse will take place in and out of Davos over 117 kilometers, and will give the climbers one last chance to shine, Albulapass (17.4 km, 6.9%) and Flüelapass (12.9 km, 7.4%) being the two ascents which should make the difference. Holder of the black jersey since coming second on stage 5, Maximiliano Richeze has to complete this final grueling day in order to become the first Argentinian winner of the points classification.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele