VERBIER, Switzerland, June 21, 2014 (AFP) – Colombia’s Esteban Chaves
staged a late attack to win atop the summit finish in Verbier in Saturday’s
eighth stage of the Tour of Switzerland, while Germany’s Tony Martin increased
his overall lead going into Sunday’s concluding stage.
Orica-GreenEdge rider Chaves finished three seconds ahead of Czech Roman
Kreuziger and Dutchman Bauke Mollema in the Valais ski resort, with the
chasing group that included Martin crossing 17 seconds behind.
It was a second win this season for Chaves, 24, who also won a stage at
last month’s Tour of California.
“This is my most important victory,” said Chaves.
“It’s my first WorldTour win. It comes at a really important race. Everyone
here has the legs for the Tour de France. I don’t have the words for what this
means to me,” added the Colombian.
Meanwhile, triple world time-trial champion Martin, who has worn the
leader’s yellow jersey since winning last Saturday’s opening time-trial,
extended his lead over Dutchman Tom Dumoulin to 51sec.
Two-time defending champion Rui Costa of Portugal is lurking, 1min 05sec
adrift in third.
“It was a hard, fast stage,” said Martin.
“The final climb to Verbier didn’t surprise. I did it already in 2009 at
the Tour de France. I knew that it was steep, but that I could handle it.
“I was aware of the guys I had to stay with. I tried to stay with them as
best I could, and stay in control as much as I could. I think I handled it
A group of six riders broke free of the pack early into the 219km ride from
Delemont and the escapees would open up a lead of over six minutes before the
peloton made a concerted effort to gradually reel them in.
Several teams jostled for position at the head of the pack while Omega
Pharma-Quick Step did their best to keep Martin as fresh as possible for the
back-to-back climbs at the finish.
Movistar’s Jose Joaquin Rojas was the first of the escapees to reach the
top of the initial category three climb, and it was then the turn of Team Sky
rider Christian Knees to try his luck on the final ascent.
BMC’s Danilo Wyss subsequently decided to make his move but the peloton was
too strong and IAM Cycling set up home favourite Mathias Frank for a strong
finish while Martin, not renowned for his climbing abilities, battled hard to
keep up with his rivals for the overall title.
Kreuziger matched Frank all the way as the Swiss rider tried to launch an
attack before the pack swallowed them up, leaving it to Chaves to jump clear
of the field inside the final two kilometres and secure an impressive win in
Sunday’s final stage is a gruelling 157km ride from Martigny to Saas-Fee
that finishes with a beyond category climb.
Results after the eighth stage
of the Tour of Switzerland, the 219.1km ride from Delemont to Verbier, on
1. Esteban Chaves (COL/ORI) 5hr 11min 16sec, 2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/TIN)
at 3sec, 3. Bauke Mollema (NED/BKN) s.t., 4. Eros Capecchi (ITA/MOV) 16sec, 5.
Janier Acavedo (COL/GRM) 17, 6. Philip Deignan (NIR/SKY) s.t, 7. Tony Martin
(GER/OPQ), 8. Davide Formolo (ITA/CAN) 0:17, 9. Rui Costa (POR/LAM), 10.
Mathias Frank (SWI/IAM) all same time.
1. Tony Martin (GER/OPQ) 28hr 54min 16sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) at
51sec, 3. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) at 1min 05sec, 4. Mathias Frank (SWI/IAM) 1:14,
5. Bauke Mollema (NED/BKN) 1:41, 6. Davide Formolo (ITA/CAN) 1:47, 7. Roman
Kreuziger (CZE/TIN) 1:50, 8. Janier Acavedo (COL/GRM) 2:07, 9. Eros Capecchi
(ITA/MOV) 2:29, 10. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 2:30