Richie Porte sealed one of the biggest wins of his career over the final 34km time trial at the Tour de Suisse, while his BMC teammate Stefan Kung took the stage win. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) put in an impressive ride to move into second place overall, while Nairo Quintana was bumped from second to third place. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) put in a strong ride to finish third on the stage.
“I’ve won races like Catalunya, Paris Nice, and Romandie, but to come here after the passing of Andy Rihs earlier this year and win his home tour, it’s a massive satisfaction,” said Porte.
When asked how his victory bodes for next month’s Tour de France, Porte was quick to point out the importance of Suisse as a standalone race.
“This was a big goal, let’s not beat around the bush. It’s a very important race and I think it’s disrespectful to say its a lead-in race because it means so much to win it.
“Going forward into the Tour, it’s good signs. It was great to see my good mate Geraint Thomas win the Dauphine. Guys like that are on form already, so it’s good signs for me to come here and beat a class field.”
The 34km stage took place over an undulating course, much of which was borrowed from yesterday’s stage 8. At the beginning of the stage, Porte held a 17-second lead over second place Quintana, and a 1:28 lead over Jakub Fuglsang. Fuglsang put in an impressive ride to finish 8th on the stage, 38-seconds down on stage winner Kung. The ride moved him from 6th to 2nd overall. While Quintana isn’t known for his time trial ability, he was able to put in a respectable ride that saw him limit his losses and hold onto a podium spot with a third place overall.
Porte will look to carry his fantastic form into the Tour de France, while Quintana and Fuglsang will be encouraged by their strong performances. Mikel Landa’s spot in the crowded Movistar Tour de France hierarchy will likely take hit due to the Spaniard’s subpar ride that saw him finish 16th overall, four minutes down on Porte. Peter Sagan was awarded the points jersey for the seventh time in the past eight years.