Simon Špilak (Team Katusha – Alpecin) went clear alone on the Tiefenbach glacier on today’s stage of the Tour de Suisse to solo to victory and take the overall lead in the race with just two stages remaining.

The Slovenian rider went clear with 8 kilometres remaining of the 166.3-kilometre stage and finished 22″ seconds clear of Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) with previous race leader Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) finishing in 12th place, 2’40” behind Špilak.

“Immediately from the start this morning I felt that I had good legs,” said Špilak. “Yesterday it was 30 degrees, but today it was 20 and this is better for me. We had a plan for today and the team was so good. Not to perform well was not an option.”

“(Baptiste) Planckaert and (Jhonatan) Restrepo went with the early break while the others stayed with me to keep me out of the wind. Taaramäe was getting our drinks and then at the end he was still with me on the final climb and did a great job.”

On general classification, Špilak holds a 52-second lead over Damiano Caruso (BMC) and 1’05” to Steven Kruijswijk of Team LottoNL-Jumbo. Former leader Pozzovivo now lies in fourth position.

“With 7-8k to go, I dropped Rein (Taaramae) and Joe Dombrowski. Maybe that was too far from the finish, but what else could I do? I had to take the jersey for my team. Now it is 52-seconds to Caruso and more than one minute to Kruijswijk. Tomorrow is a sprinter’s stage so we should be able to control that and then a long TT on the last day. And yes, I am not so bad in the TT,” concluded Špilak.

It was the final mountainous stage this year. Saturday’s stage 8 is a short one at 100k before the 28.6k individual time trial brings the race to a conclusion on Sunday in Schaffhausen.


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