• Thibaut Pinot raises his arms as he crosses the finish line in Söelden, Austria (AAP) (KEYSTONE)Source: KEYSTONE
French rider, Thibaut Pinot gapped his rivals with a commanding win in Stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, showing that he one to watch out for in the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

18 Jun 2015 - 10:05 AM 

After riding away from the peloton on the final climb of the event’s queen stage, the FDJ.fr rider also claimed the leader’s jersey from Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin),

Many riders wanted to join the morning breakaway on the 237km stage from Undterterzen/Flumserberg to Sölden/Rettenbachgletscher, which made for a fast start to this long and mountainous stage into Austria.

Eight riders managed to get away. Amongst them were grand tour stage winners Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) together with the leader of the mountain classification Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling). Former hour record holder Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) had made it into the breakaway as well.

The break worked well together and quickly distanced the peloton by more than seven minutes. Mirko Selvaggi (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was the best-placed rider but more than 18 minutes behind the Dutchman. Giant-Alpecin would gladly see a breakaway take care of the bonus seconds on the finishing line. The gap increased to over 10 minutes.

On the Bielerhöhe climb, the light blue colour of Astana appeared at the front of the peloton. The Kazakh team had one of the top favourites for this stage and general classification in Jakob Fuglsang and did not want to let the break get too far away, reducing the gap to under eight minutes by the top of the climb.

More teams joined the chase in the peloton and as the breakaway started on the final climb, less than five minutes separated the two groups. Brändle put in a big performance to keep team-mate Denifl in contention for the stage win. After just a few kilometres on the steep slopes, the Austrian climber was alone in front.

Astana kept a high pace in the peloton and it didn’t take long before the yellow jersey started to lose ground. Dumoulin didn’t panic and started to work his way back to the front little by little.

The favourites for the general classification took turns at attacking each other. Fuglsang was one of the victims of the many accelerations. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Simon Spilak (Katusha) tried to take advantage of the situation with numerous attacks on the last kilometres.

With about two kilometres to go, Pinot went clear. The 25-year-old Frenchman caught Denifl just before the top of the climb and didn’t look back.

After nearly six and a half hours on the bike, Pinot crossed the line 34 seconds ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) in second place. Spilak finished third.

Dumoulin crossed the line in tenth place and managed to minimize his time loss to just 1min 37sec. He is still in contention for the overall win. Pinot's victory moved him into the overall lead. He has a 47 second advantage over his nearest rival, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), in the general classification.

Tomorrow's 193.1km stage from Wil to Biel is expected to end in bunch sprint, giving the general classification riders a chance to recover after today’s taxing stage.

Stage 4: 273.3km, Undterterzen/Flumserberg to Sölden/Rettenbachgletscher
1 Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ.fr 6hr 22min 47sec  
2 Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:34    
3 Simon Spilak (SLO) Katusha 0:00:37    
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) Astana 0:00:43    
5 Geraint Thomas (GBR)  Sky         
6 Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana 0:01:15    
7 Jan Hirt (CZE) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:01:18    
8 Sergio Luis Henao (COL)  Sky 0:01:29    
9 Stefan Denifl (AUT) IAM Cycling 0:01:31    
10 Tom Dumoulin (NED) Giant-Alpecin 0:01:37   

General classification1 Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ.fr 17hr 4min 01sec    
2 Geraint Thomas (GBR)  Sky 0:00:47    
3 Simon Spilak (SLO) Katusha 0:00:50    
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:55    
5 Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) Astana 0:01:07    
6 Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana  0:01:27    
7 Tom Dumoulin (NED) Giant-Alpecin 0:01:32    
8 Steve Morabito (SWI) FDJ.fr 0:02:29    
9 Sébastien Reichenbach (SWI) IAM Cycling 0:02:43    
10 Sergio Luis Henao (COL) Sky 0:02:46