The final climb of Carì promised another nice fight among the Tour de Suisse’s GC contenders. That being said, the first thirty kilometres, featuring two demanding climbs, caused just as much damage on Thursday in Swiss territory. Due to a fierce battle for the breakaway, the peloton exploded into several pieces from the start. Lenny Martinez, once again in trouble, was one of many to pay for it. “There is a really high level on this Tour de Suisse, we feel that we are in Tour de France mode,” recalled Thierry Bricaud. “It went fast from the start, there were lots of small splits. It was an energetic, intense start.” “It was a very, very hard stage,” Lenny added. “I completely exploded at the start. Then, we were close to coming back on the descent, but I broke a spoke. I first had to wait for the neutral service to change my wheel, then we changed it again later with the DS car. I was completely empty when I got back into the peloton.” At the front, five riders took the lead, including Einer Rubio and Alexey Lutsenko. “Everything came back to normal in the valley, after an hour of racing,” Thierry added. “We still had five riders in what was left of the peloton. Then, it was a strong pace all the way to the bottom of the final climb.”

The peloton never allowed the day’s breakaway to get more than a two-minute lead, and the gap was even reduced to one minute at the bottom of the last climb (10 km at 8%). Quite early, Lenny Martinez was distanced. “I did everything I could on the last climb,” he said. “I was dropped right from the bottom because the pace was really fast. I’m really struggling to cope with accelerations this week. I took my own pace and didn’t want to sit up completely. I still wanted to keep pushing and climb as quickly as I could. The legs aren’t as good as I hoped, but I just hang on, and it’s part of cycling.”He’s not feeling super good, and you pay for it straight away,” Thierry added. “However, he doesn’t give up. He kept going at his own pace, did a decent climb, even if far from his usual capacities.” The young Frenchman still caught some riders on his way to the top as he joined the line in twenty-fourth place, 3’10 behind Adam Yates, winner and yellow jersey. “He is now more than five minutes down overall,” concluded Thierry. “The goal now is to have a good day on Saturday because it will just come down to the final climb tomorrow.” With the withdrawal of the Nufenenpass, the riders will only have 42 kilometers to complete on Friday, with a summit finish in Blatten (6km at 8,5%).