After a perfect lead-out, the Italian Champion outsprinted all his rivals and coasted to another impressive win.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step created again a thing of sublime beauty at the Tour de Suisse, absolutely bossing the stage 5 finale and rolling out the red carpet in the last 100 meters for Elia Viviani, whose massive acceleration on the uphill drag to the line carried him to his sixth victory of the season.
“It’s always good to win a race, and getting to taste victory for the second day in a row feels great. The guys did a perfect job and I must say they make my life much easier. This success makes me happy also because it confirms I’m on track for the Tour de France”, said the first Italian rider since 2003 to claim two stages at a Tour de Suisse edition.
Journeying from Münchenstein to Einsiedeln, which was welcoming the peloton for the first time in 16 years, Wednesday’s 177km-long stage was by no means a walk in the park, despite coming down again to a mass sprint. A hilly route featuring a 13km second-category climb inside the last 40 kilometers tested the bunch and inspired three riders to break clear, but the field caught them with relative ease and the sprint teams began preparing for the finish.
With two kilometers to go, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step train – comprising best young rider Kasper Asgreen and national champions Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Maximiliano Richeze – provided a masterful lead-out for Elia Viviani, who waited until the closing 100 meters to kick out, knowing that timing was key on the 4% gradients of Einsiedeln’s city center. The 30-year-old Italian powered like a locomotive and emerged again as the fastest man at the Tour de Suisse, beating Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), as he clocked up his sixth victory of the season.
“We all had tired legs, because the stage was really hard, and knowing that the uphill finish and the cobbles would make everything tactical, I asked the guys to move to the head of the bunch with only 1500 meters left. After Max dropped me off the front as we rounded the last corner, all I had to do was launch my sprint”, explained Elia after the team’s 39th victory of year. “The flat stages are over, but I will continue the race, help as much as possible Enric, who is our GC guy, and hopefully get to celebrate some more nice results with the team.”
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images