In the aftermath of the tragic loss of Gino Mäder, and a short stage ridden as a tribute to him, the peloton did cover the full seventh stage on Saturday. However, the proper racing started with only twenty-five kilometres to go, where the time for the GC was exceptionally taken. Remco Evenepoel took the win solo and Romain Grégoire placed seventh.
It is with a heavy heart that the peloton got back on the road this Saturday, barely a day after the devastating news. However, there were only 117 riders left in the race at the start in Tübach, after some teams decided to withdraw as a whole and some riders individually chose not to resume racing. In a press release, the Groupama-FDJ cycling team explained: “We listened, discussed with all our riders one by one. Some will not start today, others will continue. We support every rider in his decision in this difficult moment for the whole cycling family”. Stefan Küng, Arnaud Démare and Miles Scotson left the event while Michael Storer, Romain Grégoire, Sam Watson and Quentin Pacher decided to continue. In total, thirty-seven riders withdrew on Saturday morning. A bit later, the race started but in a sober way. “It was a particular stage given the circumstances”, said Sébastien Joly. “A compromise was naturally found, and it was a good thing. Trek-Segafredo, the leader’s team, took the race in hand and there were no attacks. There was kind of an agreement in that regard”.
The Tour de Suisse riders therefore covered the first 160 kilometres as one and at a decent pace. “The final was also particular because the times for the general standings were blocked twenty-five kilometres from the finish”, added Sébastien. “Some decided to let it go, others got back in the mix. As for the team, Romain managed to focus on the final and even entered a group of a dozen riders at the top of the last climb”. Following that final hill, with about fifteen kilometres to go, the world champion Remco Evenepoel broke away alone and later took the victory, dedicating it to Gino Mäder. In a small chasing peloton, Romain Grégoire took part in the sprint and obtained seventh place of the day. “It’s a good thing he was able, despite everything, to refocus on the race” said Sébastien. On Sunday, a 25-km long, hilly time trial will conclude the Swiss race.