2015 Tour de Suisse
|2015 UCI World Tour, race 17 of 28|
Simon Špilak won the 2015 Tour de Suisse.
|Dates||13–21 June 2015|
|Distance||1,258 km (781.7 mi)|
|Winning time||30h 15' 09"|
The 2015 Tour de Suisse was the 79th edition of the Tour de Suisse stage race. It took place from 13 to 21 June and was the seventeenth race of the 2015 UCI World Tour. It started in Risch-Rotkreuz and finished in Bern. The race was composed of nine stages including two time trials, a short one on the first day and a long one on the last day. The event covered 1,258 km (782 mi) and visited Liechtenstein and Austria on its fifth stage. There was only one mountaintop finish, on the aforementioned stage five.
The winner of the general classification was Slovenian Simon Špilak of Team Katusha, who won the race by a margin of only five seconds from Great Britain's Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). The ultimate selection was made on the last day's individual time trial. Tom Dumoulin of the Team Giant–Alpecin squad rounded up the podium. The latter won the two individual time trials, on the first and last stage.
The mountains classification was awarded to Austria's Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling), who featured in many breakaways to amass his points. The sprints classification was won by Slovakian Peter Sagan (Tinkoff–Saxo) who also was the victor of two stages. Team Sky finished at the head of the team classification with a margin of 11 minutes and 49 seconds.
Other riders who won a stage were Croatian Kristijan Đurasek of Lampre–Merida, Australian Michael Matthews (Orica–GreenEDGE), Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) and Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko of Astana. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot grabbed the queen stage to the Rettenbach glacier and held the leader's jersey for four stages, but had to surrender it on the last day of competition to Špilak.
As a UCI World Tour event, the organisation was in an obligation to invite all seventeen UCI WorldTeams, and likewise, all seventeen teams were obligated to send a squad. To complete the field, two UCI Professional Continental teams were invited to join the race. The number of riders allowed per team was eight, so the starting field contained 152 cyclists.
UCI World Tour Teams
UCI Professional Continental teams
Rui Costa (Movistar Team) won the last three editions of the race, however he was not present at the 2015 event, as he raced in the Critérium du Dauphiné instead. More contenders for the overall classification of the Tour de France opted for the latter race since it was more mountainous. There were two former winners of the Tour de Suisse at the starting line, Trek Factory Racing teammates: Swiss Fabian Cancellara and Luxembourger Fränk Schleck.
Contenders for the general classification were Simon Špilak (Team Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff–Saxo), Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx–Quick-Step) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). Other hopefuls were Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto–Soudal) and Sébastien Reichenbach (IAM Cycling). It was AG2R La Mondiale's Domenico Pozzovivo's first race after his disastrous crash in the Giro d'Italia, so his form was predicted as uncertain, but the Italian climber could certainly be a factor if he was in shape.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was a contender for stage wins. His directeur sportif (team manager) said he was the leader of the team and would target the opening prologue. Mark Cavendish of Etixx-Quick Step, who proved his form with twelve stage victories so far in the season, was a favorite for the sprint stages. Other riders contending stage glory were Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) and John Degenkolb (Team Giant–Alpecin). Cancellara, the 2009 winner, was recovering from a crash suffered at the E3 Harelbeke one-day race; his primary focus was on his recovery.
An important race in its own right, the 2015 Tour de Suisse was used by some Tour de France riders to perfect their physical conditions, as the well-known French race started on 4 July. The route for the race was announced on 9 March 2015.
The race did not follow any particular pattern in terms of geographical displacement around the country, but did visit Liechtenstein and Austria on the fifth stage. It was also the longest of the race and may be qualified as the queen stage. It finished near Sölden situated in Austrian territory and featured a mountaintop finish. After that, the race came back in Swiss territory for the remainder of the event. The stages which were likely to be the most important for the general classification were the aforementioned stage five and the individual time trial on the final stage. The race featured a total elevation gain of 15,606 m (51,200.8 ft).
On 4 June 2015, it was announced that the town of Brunnen was desisting itself from being the start of stage three because of road damage caused by a rocky landslide, and that the town of Quinto would instead be the starting town. This shortened the stage by 57.2 km (35.5 mi).
|1||13 June||Risch-Rotkreuz to Risch-Rotkreuz||5.1 km (3.2 mi)||Individual time trial||Tom Dumoulin (NED)|
|2||14 June||Risch-Rotkreuz to Risch-Rotkreuz||161.1 km (100.1 mi)||Medium-mountain stage||Kristijan Đurasek (CRO)|
117.3 km (72.9 mi)
|Mountain stage||Peter Sagan (SVK)|
|4||16 June||Flims to Schwarzenbach||193.2 km (120.0 mi)||Medium-mountain stage||Michael Matthews (AUS)|
|5||17 June||Unterterzen to Sölden (Austria)||237.3 km (147.5 mi)||Mountain stage||Thibaut Pinot (FRA)|
|6||18 June||Wil to Biel||193.1 km (120.0 mi)||Flat stage||Peter Sagan (SVK)|
|7||19 June||Biel to Düdingen||160 km (99.4 mi)||Flat stage||Alexander Kristoff (NOR)|
|8||20 June||Bern to Bern||152.5 km (94.8 mi)||Medium-mountain stage||Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ)|
|9||21 June||Bern to Bern||38.4 km (23.9 mi)||Individual time trial||Tom Dumoulin (NED)|
|Total||1,258 km (782 mi)|
13 June 2015 — Risch-Rotkreuz to Risch-Rotkreuz 5.1 km (3.2 mi)
The very short prologue contained three sharp corners. The first two kilometers were slightly uphill, the third one was slightly downhill and the rest was flat.
The best times coming from the first tier of riders have been Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) with 5' 45", Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) a second slower and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) another second in arrears. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) came in with a deficit of twelve seconds on Brändle. Michael Matthews (Orica–GreenEDGE) also realized a good time, four seconds down on the provisional leader. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) came to the finish with a fifteen-second deficit. Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) had the best intermediate time all day, which was calculated with 2.1 km (1.3 mi) remaining as the riders went through the checkpoint.
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), beat Brändle with a time of 5' 43". Time trial specialist Adriano Malori (Movistar Team) started soon after Cancellara crossed the finish line, but came in at 5' 47", four seconds slower. Giant-Alpecin rider Tom Dumoulin clocked 5' 41", 2 seconds better than Cancellara, and would ultimately be the winner of the stage.
BMC Racing Team's Silvan Dillier crashed as he was on a straight stretch of road. He managed to remount and finish the stage; his final position was last place, 1' 22" down. Team Sky's leader Geraint Thomas put in a fast ride, only seven seconds down on the winner. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff–Saxo) came in five seconds in arrears of Dumoulin, missing out on his objective of being the first leader of the race. Robert Gesink (LottoNL–Jumbo) clocked a time 22 seconds slower than Dumoulin, and so did Sergio Henao of Team Sky. Poles Rafał Majka (Tinkoff–Saxo) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) were 20 and 21 seconds down respectively.
After the event, Dumoulin said that he prepared at altitude for the race and that he produced a hard physical effort on the uphill section and went less intensely on the flatter parts.
|1||Tom Dumoulin (NED)||Team Giant–Alpecin||5' 41"|
|2||Fabian Cancellara (SWI)||Trek Factory Racing||+ 2"|
|3||Matthias Brändle (AUT)||IAM Cycling||+ 4"|
|4||Peter Sagan (SVK)||Tinkoff–Saxo||+ 5"|
|5||Steve Morabito (SWI)||FDJ||+ 5"|
|6||Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)||BMC Racing Team||+ 5"|
|7||Cameron Meyer (AUS)||Orica–GreenEDGE||+ 6"|
|8||Jon Izagirre (SPA)||Movistar Team||+ 6"|
|9||Adriano Malori (ITA)||Movistar Team||+ 6"|
|10||Geraint Thomas (GBR)||Team Sky||+ 7"|
14 June 2015 — Risch-Rotkreuz to Risch-Rotkreuz 161.1 km (100.1 mi)
The stage started right away with a Category 2 climb named Dorfstrasse which was 5.4 km (3.4 mi) long. The riders then rode a loop to tackle the latter climb once more about midway through the stage. Afterward another loop around Risch-Rotkreuz was effectuated to reach a Category 1 affair named Michaelskreuz, 4 km (2.5 mi) long. The course came back down and effectuated another circuit to tackle the climb a second and last time. This last King of the Mountains (KOM) checkpoint was situated at 12 km (7.5 mi) from the finish. The riders negotiated the descent and ended up once again in Risch-Rotkreuz for the finale.
After 38 km (23.6 mi) of racing, Luka Pibernik (Lampre-Merida), Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto–Soudal) and Valerio Agnoli of Astana had an advantage of 1' 08" over chasers Ben King (Cannondale–Garmin) and Simone Antonini of Pro Continental team Wanty–Groupe Gobert. They also enjoyed a lead of 2' 55" on the peloton. The two chasers soon fell back into the main field. The maximum gap the peloton allowed the escapees to have was 3' 20". As the main group attacked the climb of Michaelskreuz for the first time, Arnaud Demare (FDJ) crashed because of the fight for position.
With 16 km (9.9 mi) to go, the riders attacked the climb of Michaelskreuz for the second and last time and caught the remnants of the breakaway on the way up. Astana's Jakob Fuglsang accelerated close to the summit, with only Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Simon Špilak (Team Katusha) initially able to follow, while Michał Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step) lost contact. Geraint Thomas then attacked on the descent and was followed by Fuglsang and Špilak (Team Katusha). Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) chased them as he wanted to protect his leader's jersey. A small group of nine riders formed on the descent.
Close to the final kilometer, Kristijan Đurasek of Lampre–Merida placed an acceleration and continued to a solo victory on the flat run-in. The group came in four seconds in arrears, with Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha) winning the sprint for second place before Arredondo. Overall contenders Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Simon Špilak were also part of that clique, coming in fourth and sixth respectively. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the sprint of the following group, coming in tenth at fourteen seconds. Dumoulin kept his leader's jersey. Pibernik amassed enough mountain points (18) to earn the mountains classification jersey.
This was the new version of the stage as the original route was closed due to a landslide. The stage immediately started with the 1,087 m (3,566.3 ft)-high ascent of the Hors Category Gotthard Pass, which summit was 18.8 km (11.7 mi) in. Then came a long false flat until a Category 2 climb, the 5 km (3.1 mi)-long Zona Cumiasca. It was immediately followed by a Category 3 named ascent Via Cantonale, which summited 6 km (3.7 mi) from the finish. The climb was 3.2 km (2.0 mi).
The race got on its way under cloudy but dry conditions. The Tour de Suisse was featuring the Gotthard Pass for the 34th time in its history, and a break formed along its early slopes, which featured cobbles. The two attackers were Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) and Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The pair had a lead of 2' 30" on the main field as Branislau Samoilau (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice) was chasing them. Denifl got to the top of the climb first to rake in twenty points. By the top of the pass, snow was covering the sides of the road and the field was 3' 20" back. The riders put gilets on before the descent, which lasted almost 40 km (24.9 mi). Samoileau succeeded in joining the escape during the downhill.
The competitors replenished their food stock at the feed zone situated shortly after the downhill section. The main field started accelerating, with the team of the leader Tom Dumoulin Giant-Alpecin doing most of the work at the front. Realizing this breakaway was gaining ground, Tinkoff-Saxo came to the fore to help, resulting in the gap going down gradually. There was 30 km (18.6 mi) to cover as the gap was hovering around 4' 30".
At the foot of the Zona Cumiasca climb, with 19 km (11.8 mi) remaining, the gap had shrunk significantly. The peloton formed sprint trains to better position their leaders for the ascent. Marcato was soon dropped from the breakaway and Denifl won the mountain points. At that point, Denifl and Samoileau had only a thirty seconds gap over the depleting field. The catch was effectuated with 8.7 km (5.4 mi) to race. Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) attacked, soon followed by Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale). With the two escapees enjoying only a ten-second advantage, Sergio Henao (Team Sky) accelerated and passed them. The trio was ultimately reeled in. Rafał Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) was working at the front of the small leading group to bring back the attackers to give his team leader Peter Sagan a chance at victory. In the last few kilometers, Sagan took over from Majka himself. He followed Daniel Moreno (Team Katusha), who had chased down Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE), passing him to take victory.
The first 60 km (37.3 mi) were flat until the peloton reached Wildhaus Pass, a Category 2 test of 8.9 km (5.5 mi). Then there were three Category 3 climbs on offer, which were the 1.8 km (1.1 mi)-long Kirchberg climb repeated three times as the riders accomplished a loop. There were however a number of uncategorized rises, especially one with about 5 km (3.1 mi) to cover, that could play a role in the outcome. The finishing 900 m (2,952.8 ft) were straight with a consistent incline.
Davide Malacarne (Astana) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto–Soudal) attacked early in the stage. They were joined by a trio of Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing), Alex Howes (Cannondale–Garmin) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). De Gendt crested the Wildhaus Pass first to take eight points in the KOM competition. At the summit, after 66 km (41.0 mi) of racing, the gap between the peloton and the breakers was two minutes and fifty seconds.
De Gendt took maximum points atop the Kirchberg climb on the riders' first passage. The main field got through the KOM line 2' 05" in arrears. The descent was fast and the riders crossed the finish line for the first time of three with about 60 km (37.3 mi) to race. The breakaway was caught less than 10 km (6.2 mi) later. Orica-GreenEDGE marshaled the field as De Gendt attacked again to no avail as he was swiftly swept back. Sprint specialists Arnaud Demare (FDJ), Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) and Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) struggled with the high pace at the front set by Orica–GreenEDGE. As the peloton crossed the line for the last time with 29.2 km (18.1 mi) to race, there were no escapees.
The last KOM of the day atop the Kirchberg climb was won by Daryl Impey; it was uncontested and he won because he was riding at the front. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) placed an attack with 16 km (9.9 mi) to go. With 10 km (6.2 mi) to race he had opened up an advantage of 20 seconds. With 6.7 km (4.2 mi) remaining, Lutsenko was caught. An attack formed immediately including the riders Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Sergio Henao (Team Sky); it failed and they were brought back as Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Orica-GreenEDGE teams worked together to set up a sprint finish. With 300 m (984.3 ft) to go, Sagan initiated his sprint first and was followed by Michael Matthews of Orica–GreenEDGE. Matthews then passed him to claim his first victory at the Tour de Suisse. Sagan took second place and the points classification jersey.
This was the queen stage of the 2015 Tour de Suisse and was also the longest stage the race featured in the last twenty years. The first difficulty of the day was the 34.4 km (21.4 mi) long Hors Category Bielerhöhe Pass which summits at 2,071 m (6,794.6 ft) of altitude and at that point, the riders were already in Austria after a brief visit to Liechtenstein. Following that difficulty, the run-in to Sölden offered a respite until the cyclists reached the town and tackled the stage's second Hors Category climb to the Rettenbach glacier, which took them to an altitude of 2,669 m (8,756.6 ft). The competitors rode the Ötztal Glacier Road from Sölden to get to the finish line.
The overall race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) said before the stage that if he lost less than one minute and a half to the pure climbers, he could still win the Tour by taking that time back on the final stage's time trial. The previous stage's victor Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) was a non-starter, saying he had gotten what he wanted from the race: a stage win. A breakaway formed in the opening 10 km (6.2 mi) of the race. They were Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), KOM jersey wearer Stefan Denifl and his teammate Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling), Ben King (Cannondale–Garmin), Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Stefan Schumacher (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto–Soudal) and Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The best-placed cyclist in the break on the general classification was Selvaggi in 59th place, 18' 38" down on Dumoulin. Denifl amassed maximum points atop the Bielerhöhe Pass, comforting his lead in the mountains classification. Jon Izagirre of the Movistar Team abandoned after the pass.
With 90 km (55.9 mi) to go the gap was miscalculated by the race organizers as there were unrealistic fluctuations in the official timing throughout the long stretch of flat road before the final climb. With 82 km (51.0 mi) to cover, Astana took control of the peloton for their leader Jakob Fuglsang. FDJ and Team Katusha started helping the chase at the front, since those teams had riders aiming for victory (Thibaut Pinot and the Daniel Moreno-Simon Špilak duo, respectively). With 30 km (18.6 mi) to the start of the big final climb, the gap was around six and a half minutes. The break fractured, just as the peloton did later when they hit the Rettenbach ascent. Dumoulin was dropped almost at the beginning of it but resisted, climbing at his own pace. Špilak attacked with 8 km (5.0 mi) remaining and dangled in front of a select group.
Early breaker Denifl was alone in front and had about two minutes of an advantage with 4 km (2.5 mi) to go. Behind, Domenico Pozzovivo placed an acceleration that put the lead group in difficulty, but he was brought back. The time gap rapidly decreased, due to dubious time monitoring again. Pinot launched an attack from the group, but Špilak had the resources to keep up with him for a while but was ultimately dropped. Pinot passed the passive Denifl before the arch signaling the last kilometer (flamme rouge) and took a solo victory. Pozzovivo finished second while Špilak settled for third. However, it became soon apparent that Dumoulin would not lose much more than the minute and a half that was his objective. He passed the line 1' 37" down on Pinot. "I'm very happy, it was important for me and the team. We came here to win a stage, and I had good legs today. I've got a lot of confidence now, that’s important for the Tour de France. And it's true, racing in Switzerland seems to suit me," said Pinot. "The objective is to win overall here, but the rouleurs like [Geraint] Thomas and [Tom] Dumoulin aren't far back," he added. "It'll be a long and difficult time trial [on stage nine]. We'll see what happens on the day."
This stage contained only one categorized ascent midway through it and was a Category 3 affair named Auensteinstrasse. However, there were numerous uncategorized rises on the course to Biel and the total elevation gain for the stage was 1,167 m (3,828.7 ft). Two intermediate sprints came before the run into town in the final 40 km (24.9 mi).
As the stage started, there were 145 riders remaining in the race, as only seven entrants had abandoned since the start of the race. The day's breakers were Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice), Matej Mohoric (Cannondale–Garmin) and Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The riders soon tackled the Eschenmosen, one of the many uncategorized ascents of the day. With 136 km (84.5 mi) left, the breakaway's advantage stood at 4' 30". The breakers took the points on offer on the only climb of the day, Auensteinstrasse, so Stefan Denifl of IAM Cycling needed not worry about someone taking his mountains classification jersey, as he had 63 points with 30 points of an advantage over his nearest competitor Thomas De Gendt (Lotto–Soudal). Rutkiewicz won the KOM and amassed the five points that came with it. About midway through, it was calculated that the peloton's average speed was slower than the slowest prediction by the organizers, most likely due to the severity of the previous stage.
With 65 km (40.4 mi) to cover, rain began to fall; the main field was led by FDJ, Etixx-Quick Step, Giant-Alpecin and Team Katusha. Baugnies rode first across an uncontested intermediate sprint with 42.7 km (26.5 mi) to go. 25 km (15.5 mi) from the finish, Adriano Malori and Francisco Ventoso of Movistar Team surprised the peloton by attacking. At the 10 km (6.2 mi) remaining arch, the break of four still held a lead of forty seconds with the two Movistar Team riders placed between the groups. Etixx–Quick-Step took matters in their own hands and began forming their sprint train for Mark Cavendish. Tinkoff-Saxo moved to the front in support of their sprint hopeful, Peter Sagan. With 5 km (3.1 mi) to cover, the escape had 30 seconds of an advantage. At that point, two Etixx–Quick-Step riders (Julien Vermote and Zdenek Stybar) crashed on the water-logged tarmac before a bend, but the mishap had no consequences on the peloton. The breakers were brought back just before the flamme rouge.
Shortly thereafter, Cavendish lost the wheel of his lead-out man Mark Renshaw after struggling to come back after the crash which hindered his lead-out train. There were two technical turns before the finish line. Peter Sagan was sitting in third wheel of his team's train; he negotiated the final 90 degree corner with 200 m to go and profited from an unintentional lead-out by Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto–Soudal), who had opened his sprint before Sagan outpowered him in the last hundred meters to win the day. It was Sagan's eleventh victory in Tour de Suisse history, equaling the records of Hugo Koblet and Ferdi Kubler. Because of a split in the peloton, Pinot lost five seconds to general classification rival Geraint Thomas of Team Sky.
Stage 7 was a flat stage except for three Category 3 climbs in the second half of the stage. The opening 60 km (37.3 mi) were totally flat. After 91 km (56.5 mi), the riders tackled the finishing circuit twice. During that circuit, the first climb was the 1.1 km (0.7 mi)-long Freiburgstrasse. There was a descent, then the Hauptstrasse climb was covered. During the second circuit, the Freiburgstrasse was attacked again. This last difficulty was situated 19 km (11.8 mi) from the finish line. The final 800 m (2,624.7 ft) were steep.
World road race champion Michał Kwiatkowski of the Etixx-Quick Step squad made attempts at escaping before the peloton finally let him go 20 km (12.4 mi) in to the race. He was joined by Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale). After the break was resolved, the peloton was content in letting the gap increase to 3' 15" with 129 km (80.2 mi) of racing remaining. The best placed rider in this quartet was Impey, 29' 18" down on race leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). The average speed of the first hour was 47.7 km/h (29.6 mph). Tinkoff-Saxo and Giant-Alpecin dictated the pace, pulling back thirty seconds. With 88 km (54.7 mi) to go, the race passed through the village of Misery-Courtion, at which point the gap stood at 2' 50". A crash occurred in the outskirts of Misery-Courtion, involving Ben Hermans and Manuel Senni (both with BMC Racing Team). They were able to remount their bikes and rejoined the main field.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Enrico Gasparotto abandoned two hours into the stage, which were contested at the speed of 44 km/h (27.3 mph). With 55 km (34.2 mi) remaining, the escape had a minute lead. Domont took the maximum points atop the first KOM of the day. As they crossed the line for the last time with 37 km (23.0 mi) to go, the breakers were resisting as the time difference was still around a minute. On the second lap of the finishing circuit, Domont was dropped from the breakaway and was absorbed in by the peloton. The now three-rider break had a thirty-second advantage with 10 km (6.2 mi) remaining. Team Katusha controlled the front of the field in the final kilometers. With 2 km (1.2 mi) to go, the peloton almost pulled back the all unyielding breakers, Kwiatkowski decided to go alone. He was caught in sight of the finish line. The uphill sprint was won by Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha, with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) being a close second. Sagan got out of Kristoff's slipstream to try to out-sprint him in the final meters, but to no avail. This was Kristoff's eighteenth victory of the season. Through bad positioning, Pinot lost a further five seconds to Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in the overall classification. "It was a hard day, I haven't felt super in this Tour de Suisse but I did a good sprint today," said the winner. "I got ahead of Sagan and I was able to go again at the end to hold off his run."
20 June 2015 — Bern to Bern 152.5 km (94.8 mi)
The stage was ridden in and around Bern, the first time the Tour de Suisse came to the national capital since 2009. This was another stage which featured a lot of uncategorized rises. It however contained four Category 3 ascents. The event featured four circuits of 38.7 km (24.0 mi) around town, on the same course that will be used in the stage nine's time trial. The two climbs present in the loops gave KOM points on the last two laps only. The riders first took on the 800 m (2,624.7 ft)-long Category 3 Liebewill, then it was the 400 m (1,312.3 ft)-long Aargauerstalden climb. The stage finished on the flat, a plateau after the latter ascent, featuring a number of technical turns.
A breakaway of twelve formed at the very start, but was deemed too dangerous and quickly reabsorbed. Citing back problems, Trek Factory Racing rider Jasper Stuyven abandoned the race. The attackers continued to try to form a break and Michał Kwiatkowski's (Etixx-Quick Step) move finally made it. A break of nineteen riders emerged, containing among others Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin), the best placed rider of the move on general classification at 4' 52". Team Sky, Cannondale–Garmin and FDJ led the chase. Despite the main field's effort, the gap grew to two minutes with 87 km (54.1 mi) to cover.
With 75 km (46.6 mi) to go in the stage, the gap stood at 2' 12". However, Team Sky, Cannondale–Garmin and FDJ were still working to keep the escapees in range. The time difference to the escape was remaining stationary with around two minutes at the 40 km (24.9 mi) to go marker. As the peloton passed through the finish line to undertake the last lap of the circuit, Jakob Fuglsang of Astana abandoned the race. He confirmed later he quit the race due to stomach problems. The peloton was forming a long single line as the pace was high. Maxime Monfort (Lotto–Soudal) crashed and abandoned, bruising on his shoulder and back.
With 20 km (12.4 mi) remaining, Astana's Alexey Lutsenko attacked the escapees, followed by Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale); they opened a gap, holding off their former breakaway companions. Bakelandts lead for the last few kilometers except under the flamme rouge and Lutsenko outsprinted him to claim the victory. He described the win as the biggest of his career. The main field arrived in small groups, with the first one containing Team Sky's Geraint Thomas and Tom Dumoulin of Team Giant–Alpecin, who made a marginal time gain of three seconds on Thibaut Pinot. The latter remained in the leaders' jersey.
21 June 2015 — Bern to Bern 38.4 km (23.9 mi)
The lengthy individual time trial featured a climb in the middle of it, but no KOM points were on offer. The course was technical and featured several turns. It was the same course that was raced four times in stage eight, except that the finish line was not situated at the same place. Midway through the stage, the riders took on the difficulty of the day, the 800 m (2,624.7 ft)-long Liebewill. There were other small climbs to pepper the course.
The final general classification of the race would definitely be decided on this stage, and a majority of the observers believed that Pinot would lose his lead since he is not a great time trialist, meaning he is not at his best when fighting against the wind on rolling terrain. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky was only 34 seconds down coming into the stage and was among the favorites to take the overall victory. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) won the short prologue and was a contender for overall victory too since he is a time trial specialist, but he had 1' 24" to make up for. Another contender for overall win was Simon Špilak of Team Katusha (47 seconds down). Fourth-placed Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was an enigma, as he had mixed performances in time trials throughout his career. As far as the stage win in itself was concerned, solo effort specialists Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Adriano Malori (Movistar Team) were to be considered, but they had no chance of a victory in the general classification since they were too far down in the rankings.
It is to be noted that the riders started in reverse order of the general classification, so Pinot was the last one to start. The riders went off the starting ramp in two minutes increments. Cancellara got on course early, as he was the seventh man to start. He clocked a time of 48' 55", which would stay a reference for most of the day. He was followed out of the starting area by Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) who came in 2' 28" after Cancellara, somewhat surprisingly as he is a time trial specialist too. Malori set the best time at the 21 km (13.0 mi) intermediate point but faded a little bit in the end, coming to the finish line only 15 seconds off Cancellara's time. The Swiss would stay as a reference for a while now that some time trial specialists had finished their effort and failed to beat him. Damien Gaudin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) clocked in a time of 50' 46" which put him in sixth position.
Cameron Meyer (Orica–GreenEDGE) put in a time of 49' 43", 48 seconds off Cancellara's mark. Around that time, general classification hopeful Dumoulin hopped off the starting ramp. Swiss Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team) provisionally slotted into sixth position with a time of 50' 19" and minutes later, race leader Pinot got off the starting ramp. Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling) crossed the finish line with a rapid time, only 25 seconds off Cancellara's performance. Meanwhile, in early time splits, Pinot had already lost twelve seconds to Thomas. Last day's stage winner Alexey Lutsenko of Astana confirmed his good form with a time of 50' 32".
At the 21 km (13.0 mi) marker, Dumoulin beat Malori's best time by eleven seconds. Špilak was also doing a fast time trial, being equal to the best time at the 15.5 km (9.6 mi) mark and passing the 21 km (13.0 mi) arch faster than Dumoulin by four tenths of a second. By that time, Pinot had virtually lost his lead. Dumoulin took a very focused corner and he almost slammed into spectators upon exiting it, but no accident occurred. Špilak needed fourteen seconds over Thomas to get in front of him in the general classification. Dumoulin came in with a time nineteen seconds better than Cancellara's and won the stage with an average speed of 47.407 km/h (29.5 mph). Špilak came in with a time of 48' 54" and Thomas registered 49' 12", a difference of 18 seconds. Therefore, Špilak was declared the official winner of the 2015 Tour de Suisse by five seconds.
"I’m really happy and want to thank my teammates who helped me too much during the race. This is the biggest win of my career so far," Spilak said. "The time trial was really hard but I liked it. It was up and down all the way and that helped me. I gave it everything." It was the Slovenian's tenth victory in the professional ranks.
In the 2015 Tour de Suisse, three different jerseys were awarded. For the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage, and the leader received a yellow jersey. This classification was considered the most important of the Tour de Suisse, and the winner of the classification was considered the winner of the race. There was also a mountains classification, the leadership of which was marked by a light blue jersey. In the mountains classification, points were won by reaching the top of a climb before other cyclists, with more points available for the higher-categorised climbs. Hors Category gave 20 points to the first rider crossing (20, 15, 10, 6, 4), a Category 1 was worth 12 points (12, 8, 6, 4, 2), a Category 2 was worth 8 points (8, 6, 4, 2, 1) and a Category 3 was worth 5 points (5, 3, 2, 1).
The third jersey represented the points classification, marked by a white-and-red jersey. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing highly in a stage. A stage victory awarded 10 points, with 8 points for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth and 2 for fifth. Points could also be earned at intermediate sprints location for finishing in the top three during each stage on a 6–3–1 scale. There was also a classification for teams, in which the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added together; the leading team at the end of the race was the team with the lowest total time.
A combativity award was also attributed for the rider who had ridden the most aggressively in the eyes of the judges at the end of every stage. It could have been a rider who featured in breakaways or a cyclist who attacked often.
|1||Tom Dumoulin||Tom Dumoulin||not awarded||Tom Dumoulin||IAM Cycling||Tom Dumoulin|
|2||Kristijan Đurasek||Luka Pibernik||Astana||Cameron Meyer|
|3||Peter Sagan||Stefan Denifl||Daniel Moreno||Team Sky||Stefan Denifl|
|4||Michael Matthews||Peter Sagan||Astana||Thomas De Gendt|
|5||Thibaut Pinot||Thibaut Pinot||Team Sky||Stefan Denifl|
|6||Peter Sagan||Marek Rutkiewicz|
|7||Alexander Kristoff||Michał Kwiatkowski|
|8||Alexey Lutsenko||Alexey Lutsenko|
|9||Tom Dumoulin||Simon Špilak||Tom Dumoulin|
|Final||Simon Špilak||Stefan Denifl||Peter Sagan||Team Sky||not awarded|
|Denotes the leader of the general classification||Denotes the leader of the mountains classification|
|Denotes the leader of the points classification||Denotes the leader of the teams classification|
|1||Simon Špilak (SLO)||Team Katusha||30h 15' 09"|
|2||Geraint Thomas (GBR)||Team Sky||+ 5"|
|3||Tom Dumoulin (NED)||Team Giant–Alpecin||+ 19"|
|4||Thibaut Pinot (FRA)||FDJ||+ 45"|
|5||Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA)||AG2R La Mondiale||+ 2' 21"|
|6||Bob Jungels (LUX)||Trek Factory Racing||+ 2' 58"|
|7||Miguel Ángel López (COL)||Astana||+ 3' 06"|
|8||Steve Morabito (SWI)||FDJ||+ 3' 17"|
|9||Robert Gesink (NED)||LottoNL–Jumbo||+ 3' 19"|
|10||Rafał Majka (POL)||Tinkoff–Saxo||+ 3' 20"|
|1||Peter Sagan (SVK)||Tinkoff–Saxo||43|
|2||Tom Dumoulin (NED)||Team Giant–Alpecin||28|
|3||Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ)||Astana||23|
|4||Thibaut Pinot (FRA)||FDJ||20|
|5||Jürgen Roelandts (BEL)||Lotto–Soudal||20|
|6||Jan Bakelants (BEL)||AG2R La Mondiale||17|
|7||Alexander Kristoff (NOR)||Team Katusha||16|
|8||Daniel Moreno (SPA)||Team Katusha||16|
|9||Simon Špilak (SLO)||Team Katusha||14|
|10||Fabian Cancellara (SWI)||Trek Factory Racing||14|
|1||Stefan Denifl (AUT)||IAM Cycling||63|
|2||Thomas De Gendt (BEL)||Lotto–Soudal||33|
|3||Thibaut Pinot (FRA)||FDJ||22|
|4||Luka Pibernik (SLO)||Lampre–Merida||22|
|5||Daryl Impey (RSA)||Orica–GreenEDGE||21|
|6||Axel Domont (FRA)||AG2R La Mondiale||18|
|7||Cameron Meyer (AUS)||Orica–GreenEDGE||16|
|8||Branislau Samoilau (BLR)||CCC–Sprandi–Polkowice||16|
|9||Marco Marcato (ITA)||Wanty–Groupe Gobert||16|
|10||Jan Bakelants (BEL)||AG2R La Mondiale||15|
|1||Team Sky||90h 55' 38"|
|2||Trek Factory Racing||+ 11' 49"|
|3||IAM Cycling||+ 15' 08"|
|4||Astana||+ 18' 43"|
|5||BMC Racing Team||+ 22' 33"|
|6||Team Giant–Alpecin||+ 26' 44"|
|7||AG2R La Mondiale||+ 31' 04"|
|8||Orica–GreenEDGE||+ 31' 15"|
|9||FDJ||+ 31' 45"|
|10||LottoNL–Jumbo||+ 38' 49"|
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