• Domenico Pozzovivo. (Getty)Source: Getty
Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) finished off an epic day in the mountains to claim a solo win and the overall lead on stage 6 of Tour de Suisse.
Cycling Central

16 Jun 2017 - 8:01 AM  UPDATED 16 Jun 2017 - 8:12 AM

Domenico Pozzovivo finished off an epic day in the mountains to claim a solo win and the overall lead on Stage 6 of Tour de Suisse.

The diminutive AG2R La Mondiale rider finished four seconds ahead of Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain Merida) at the end of the 166.7km route from Locarno to La Punt.

He pushed Damiano Caruso (BMC) into second place overall on the general classification with Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) falling to third.

“I have been waiting a long time for this," Pozzovivo said. "Dropping everyone on the climb, bridging up to the breakaway, taking the win.

"I had a perfect start to the season, and my Giro went very well [6th overall]. I have had good legs and it was necessary just to have the right mindset in order to do something here.

"We made the most of our resources as a team. With Jan Bakelants in the breakaway, that allowed us to hold back a little and save some energy."

Ten riders made the breakaway selection after 50km of racing and rode out to a two-minute lead after the first climb of the day. The break's cohesion fell apart inside the final 25km as Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) launched a solo effort as the general classification contenders battled behind.

With 12km to go, it was Pozzovivo who broke the back of the race with a winning attack and bridging to Woods before the summit of the Albula Pass.

He then gapped Woods on the wet and potentially dangerous 9.3km descent to La Punt and held off the chasing Costa and Izaguirre for the win.

World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) keeps the lead in the points classification while Lasse Norman Hansen (Aqua Blue Sport) remains on top in the mountains classification.

Stage 7 runs 166.3km from Zernez to Sölden and finishes on the fearsome Tiefenbach glacier at 2,790 metres.

"I will now try to increase my lead in the overall especially since there is a time trial on the final day that really does not suit me," Pozzovivo said.