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The team did suffer some bad luck with the withdrawal of Jonathan Garcia and Tony Cruz (picture). Foto: Tim De Waele
The team did suffer some bad luck with the withdrawal of Jonathan Garcia and Tony Cruz (picture). Foto: Tim De Waele

Category 2 climb acts as launch pad for exciting finale to Tour de Suisse Stage 5

18. June 2008

Caslano

Difficult from the gun, Stage 5 trekking south from Domat-Ems to Caslano would challenge any rider interested in winning the Tour of Switzerland.

It was not a day where the Tour could be won, but certainly was a day where the race could be – and was in several cases – lost.  BMC ended the day satisfied as its number one GC hope, Alex Moos finished the day with the main leaders and still sits comfortably in striking distance of a top 10 finish on Sunday.  

Four categorized climbs broke up the field before the downhill finish

“Today was a very difficult stage, as there was a lot of climbing, and the peloton was fast right from the start,” John Lelangue said.  “We didn’t make the big break that formed early in the race, but as it contained several riders within a minute or two of the lead, we knew that it wasn’t a break that would succeed, so we focused all our attention on keeping Alex well positioned.”  The breakaway could boast some serious horsepower, but BMC’s strategy proved wise as the final remnants of the escapees were swallowed up at the base of the day’s final climb.  “We knew this was going to be a tricky finish with the deceptively hard Cademario climb coming before the technical descent,” Lelangue said.  “So we had Steve Bovay up front at the beginning of the climb to make sure that Alex would enter it in the best position possible.”  It seems many top placed riders did not do their homework when reviewing this climb, and several burnt matches on the early slopes, only to find the sting really came later in the climb.  Moos suffered from the excessively high speed early in the climb, but kept his composure and latched back onto the leaders early in the descent.  “Alex woke with a sore throat this morning, and ended up having to fight hard on the early part of the climb, having been dropped with Cunego,” Lelangue said.  “But he made a very impressive effort on the last bit of the climb, and descended very well so that he was able to finish with the leaders.”  “I am pretty happy with my day today,” Moos said shortly after the end of the stage.  “I was on my limit during the last climb, but I am pleased to have finished with the main group in the end.”  

Injury report, and thinking about Verbier

The team did suffer some bad luck with the withdrawal of Jonathan Garcia and Tony Cruz.  After several days of racing strongly in spite of injuries sustained in his stage 1 crash, Garcia finally had to admit the pain in his swollen knee was too much to continue.  “Jonathan ended up with a very swollen sore knee, an after-effect from his crash last Saturday,” Lelangue explained.  “He was dropped almost immediately with Tony, and at the feed zone they both abandoned.”  “This is a huge disappointment for Jonathan as he came to the race with great form and a great attitude,” Gavin Chilcott said.  “He definitely is a guy who belongs in these sorts of races, and he really did his job getting ready for it and during the race.”  Though Garcia woke up feeling fine and not at all fatigued from his long breakaway the day before, his knee which had been giving him trouble in previous days, swelled up early in the stage and caused him great pain.  “He woke up this morning thinking he was good to go, but fluid quickly started building up around the joint,” Chilcott said.  “We think it will be something that he will be able to recover from quickly, and luckily his schedule will easily accommodate that recovery time as he is not scheduled to race again until the second week in July.”  That leaves BMC with 6 riders for the rest of the race, though many other teams are in similar situations.  “I am tired after today’s stage which I spent in the gruppetto,” Martin Kohler said.  “But I definitely plan on finishing the race and helping the team as much as I can.”  Tomorrow’s stage to the hill top finish at Verbier will test everyone’s strength, but also play an important role in the shaking out of the General Classification.  “Tomorrow will be an interesting stage,” Lelangue said.  “We will work all day for Alex to help preserve and improve his position if possible.”  Moos knows the task at hand will be difficult.  “I will think about tomorrow, I’m too tired now,” he said.  “The day will be hard, and we will just do our best.”

With each passing stage, the racers are getting closer to the uphill time trial on Saturday that will most likely decide the victor.  “Friday and Sunday’s stages will be difficult, but probably not decisive,” Lelangue said. “But tomorrow to Verbier and Saturday’s time trial will be where the race will be decided; we will work for Alex as a high final placing is very much within his capabilities.”