• Arnaud Demare in the French champion colours. (Getty)Source: Getty
Richie Porte is a step closer to winning the Tour de Suisse after Arnaud Demare claimed the Stage 7 sprint.
Cycling Central

17 Jun 2018 - 6:58 AM 

French champion Demare (Groupama-FDJ) beat Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at the end of the 123km stage held in and around Bellinzona.

"For the first time in the Tour de Suisse the whole peloton reached the finish. It’s a great satisfaction for me to beat all the other sprinters. It makes me even happier to win because this stage race is a major indicator for the Tour de France." Démare said.

Australia's Porte (BMC) watched safely from the bunch as the sprinters did their work during the six laps of a 21.5km circuit to hold on to the overall lead ahead of the final stage 34km time trial.

"That was such a nervous and stressful stage. It looked like today went without any problems but that's thanks to my fantastic team here," Porte said.

"BMC Racing Team has been great all week and today was another impressive display from them to put me in a good position in the hectic finish. It was one of those days where you are just happy to get it over and done with."

Porte leads Nairo Quintana (Movistar) by 17 seconds and Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman by 52 going into a discipline where he knows he has a clear advantage in attempting to win his first Tour de Suisse.

"The race has gone really well so far but it's not over until it's over," Porte said. "Nairo Quintana had a fantastic day yesterday and I think he could easily have another good day tomorrow, likewise with Wilco Kelderman.

"You can't underestimate either of them so, if I am here tomorrow in the yellow jersey, I will be super happy. I have to be positive though and things have been going well so far so fingers crossed."

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