Evenepoel Wins Stage 7 of Tour de Suisse
Yesterday’s stage 6 of Tour de Suisse 2023 was cancelled due to the tragic death of Swiss cyclist Giro Mäder who passed away following a crash in stage 5 of this year’s Tour de Suisse. Stage 6 was replaced by a memorial ride in honor of Mäder. Mäder’s Bahrain-Victorious teammates crossed the finish line first while paying homage to Mäder and his family.
The route of Saturday’s stage 7 was modified. The stage was a 183.5-kilometer mountainous ride from Tübach to Weinfelden – birthtown of EF Education-EasyPost’s Stefan Bissegger. The route included one Category 1 climb, one Category 2 climb, and two Category 3 climbs. The intermediate sprints and points had been removed, and the finish time would be clocked twenty-five kilometers from the finish line. Mäder’s Bahrain-Victorious team had chosen to withdraw from the race, while some riders from other teams had also abandoned the race following the news of Mäder’s tragic death.
The remaining riders in the Tour de Suisse peloton started stage 7 riding at a slow and respectful speed and with no breakaway attempts. The peloton was still united with ninety kilometers left.
The speed in the peloton was gradually increased and with fifty kilometers left Ineos-Grenadiers, Jumbo-Visma, Trek-Segafredo and Sodal-QuickStep had moved to the front to animate the stage. It was obvious, however, that the riders were saddened by the loss of Mäder. Spirits were not high.
As stated earlier, the finish time would be taken twenty-five kilometers from the finish. This would allow riders who wanted to compete for the stage victory despite the death of Mäder to do so in the final twenty-five kilometers, while this would not affect the general classification, so no rider would be forced to engage in hectic racing if he did not feel like doing so.
As the peloton approached the 25-kilometer mark, Trek-Segafredo had moved to the front for its Tour de Suisse general classification leader Mattias Skjelmose. The peloton crossed the timing decisive finish line together and any rider who felt like doing so could now attack if he wanted to.
EF Education-EasyPost attacked and launched Neilson Powless. Jumbo-Visma closed the gap with Wout Van Aert. Other riders followed. Michal Kwiatkowski moved to the front for Ineos-Grenadiers.
Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM), World Champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) and Jhonathan Narvaez (Ineos-Grenadiers) were first at the top of the Ottenberg with eighteen kilometers left.
Powless attacked again. Evenepoel countered and pressed on solo.
With thirteen kilometers left Evenepoel was still in front, and no other rider appeared capable of reeling him in. Evenepoel had a 24 second gap.
Ineos-Grenadiers led the chase.
With 2.8 kilometers left Evenepoel had a 48 second advantage over the chasers. Powless attacked again. He would give it his all to take second place.
Evenepoel crossed the finish line as winner of stage 7 of Tour de Suisse 2023. He pointed his finger towards the sky and dedicated his victory to the late Mäder.
Van Aert was second across the finish line, while Cofidis’ Bryan Coquard completed the stage podium.
Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) leads the general classification before Sunday’s stage 8 – a 25.7-kilometer individual time trial on a hilly route from St. Gallen to Abtwil. Felix Gall (AG2R-Citroen) is 8 seconds behind him. Juan Ayuso is in third place, 18 seconds behind the leader, while Evenepoel is 46 seconds behind the Dane.
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