Tour de Suisse 2021 – Stage 6 preview

By David Hunter

Sedrun > Andermatt 130km

This is a brilliant stage for the breakaway

We have an uphill start, the hardest climb peaking with 30km to go, and an easy finish. Carlsberg don’t do breakaway stages, but if they did…

Key Points

The climbing starts from the gun. We are climbing the Gotthard Pass from the north; this side is 8.6km at 6.6% and climbs to 2072m above sea level. This isn’t an easy way to start the day. We then have a long descent and a section in the valley before the big climb of the day.

The Lukmanierpass is 18km at 5.4%, it’s a long climb, but not the hardest. Cresting with 28km to go means it’s unlikely we’ll see any serious action. Will any of the GC riders go on the attack?

10.7km at 3.1% is just a grind up to the finishing line. Given the stage is short, I would expect to see the main teams having domestiques left to control this finale. We’ll see attacks, but it will be hard to create big gaps.

Weather

Another sunny day with light winds.

Tactics

It really is a great stage for the breakaway. We’ll have a fast start and a big fight to get in the move. GC teams will have to be careful not to let satellite riders get up the road, they would be vital if one of the main riders wants to attack on the Lukmanierpass. Once the break gets established it has a big chance of making it to the finish.

Back in the GC group I’m really not sure what will happen. The big climb is a long way from home, but the stage is short which could mean that riders are more attacking. Given the length and gradient of the climbs I just don’t see gaps between the best riders, the stage isn’t hard enough.

We’ll still see Ineos setting a fast pace on the Lukmanierpass, they’ll want to shake out as many riders as possible with the TT following on Saturday, but I don’t see them interested in chasing the break. Will another GC team step forward and control? I wouldn’t think so.

Contenders

UAE – Hirschi, Rui Costa and De La Cruz. They are brilliant breakaway options, but UAE must be very disappointed with their performance in the GC. A stage win would certainly help, in fact I would say they need a stage win. All three could potentially win the stage, having multiple riders in the front group would give them a big advantage.

Gino Mäder – becoming a breakaway expert. Winning on home soil would mean a lot to him, but it depends on how he has recovered after crashing out of the Giro. Earlier in that race he brilliantly won a stage, Mäder is beginning to look like a world class climber.

Sergio Samitier – the Spaniard had a purple spell in the 2020 Giro, on his day he can surprise the big names. Consistency is a problem; we’ll have to see what his current form is like. He made the move today, it’s likely we’ll see lots of him this weekend.

Matteo Fabbro – yet to take a professional win, but I think that will change soon. He’s one of the riders who have come here from the Giro, it’s very hard to predict how the legs will respond.

Marc Soler – sprinted for the bonus seconds, then blew very early on today’s climb. You could say that sums him up perfectly. He could win this stage; he could finish last.

Antwan Tolhoek – looked nice and strong today, you can bet he’ll be in tomorrow’s breakaway. Everyone knows he’s going well, which means he’ll be a marked man, but he can still win.

Richard Carapaz – so strong today, he was magnificent. Ineos won’t be chasing the stage, but if another team chases down the break, he’ll sense a chance of taking another win. The finish isn’t ideal for him, but when you have legs, you have legs.

Michael Woods – this is a good finish for him, but his team aren’t strong enough to ensure it finishes in a small sprint.

Julian Alaphilippe – the big climb is far enough out to ensure that it’s not done full gas, which means he could have a big say in the outcome of the stage. Will Deceuninck – Quick Step look to control the stage for him? They’re the most likely to, but I still don’t think that’s very likely.

Prediction Time

The stage will be taken by the breakaway, but picking the winner is tough. We have five very strong candidates, but as some were at the Giro it’s very hard to predict how they’ll react in this stage. I’ll go Swiss, a win for Gino Mäder. Back in the GC group, Ineos will ensure the main riders finish together.

David Hunter

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