With the help of a sudden deluge in the final kilometre, Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R held off a pack of pursuers to edge the mountainous sixth stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Thursday.
The bonus seconds he earned for the stage win also saw him edge ahead of another Italian Damiano Caruso at the top of the overall standings.
Both have the same time but Pozzovivo’s better opening day time trial separates the two.
Rui Costa, Jon Izagirre and Mathias Frank were working hard to chase down the Italian before torrential rain in the final few hundred metres curtailed the push on the slick Ponte town centre streets and saw Pozzovivo beat the trio by four seconds.
Giro D’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin pulled out of the race ahead of the start on Thursday citing fatigue.
“He’s been tired for a few days and we thought it better to pull out and let him concentrate on next week’s national championships,” said Sunweb team leader Marc Reef.
The 26-year-old Dutchman who clinched his first major tour two weeks ago had been 6min 30sec off the pace anyway.
Results and standings after the 6th stage of Tour de Switzerland, a 166.7km run from Locarno to Ponte on Thursday:
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 166.7 km in 4h 38min 49sec (average: 35,9 km/h), 2. Rui Costa (POR/EAU) at 04sec, 3. Jon Izagirre (ESP/BAH) 04., 4. Mathias Frank (SWI/ALM) 04., 5. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 12., 6. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 12., 7. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 15., 8. Peio Bilbao (ESP/AST) 18., 9. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 18., 10. Michael Woods (CAN/CAN) 21.
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/AG2R La Mondiale) 22hrs 03mins 28sec, 2. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) same time, 3. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) at 13sec, 4. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 22., 5. Mathias Frank (SWI/ALM) 0:23., 6. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 35., 7. Rui Costa (POR/EAU) 54., 8. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 1min 19sec, 9. Peio Bilbao (ESP/AST) 1:42., 10. Valerio Conti (ITA/EAU) 3:02.
– Agence France-Presse