Former champion Simon Spilak climbed to the overall lead in the Tour of Switzerland on Friday with a solo breakaway to a summit finish of the seventh stage at Solden in Austria.
Spain’s Ion Izzagirre and American rider Joe Dombrowski kept pressure on 2015 winner Spilak after the largely flat stage ended with a long, steep climb to the Tiefenbach Glacier at 2,780 metres.
The Slovak finished strongly, however, and not only won the stage but took the overall lead from Thursday’s stage winner Domenico Pozzovivo, who struggled badly on Friday losing around 2min 40sec.
Katusha rider Spilak, 30, finds himself in a powerful position to repeat his 2015 overall win as he leads Damiano Caruso of BMC by 52sec and Steven Kruijswijk by 1min 05sec.
Results and standings after the 7th stage of Tour de Switzerland, a a 160.8km ride from Zernez to Soelden on Friday:
1. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 3hr 58min 36sec (average: 40.4 km/h), 2. Jon Izagirre (ESP/BAH) at 0:22, 3. Joe Dombrowski (USA/CAN) 0:36, 4. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 1:04, 5. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 1:04, 6. Jan Hirt (CZE/CCC) 1:07, 7. Rein Taaramae (EST/KAT) 1:33, 8. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 1:47, 9. Rui Costa (POR/EAU) 1:53, 10. Peio Bilbao (ESP/AST) 2:40
1. Simon Spilak (SLO/Katusha) 26hr 02min 16sec, 2. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) at 0:52, 3. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 1:05, 4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 2:28, 5. Rui Costa (POR/EAU) 2:35, 6. Mathias Frank (SWI/ALM) 2:51, 7. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 2:54, 8. Jon Izagirre (ESP/BAH) 3:51, 9. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 4:07, 10. Peio Bilbao (ESP/AST) 4:10
– Agence France-Presse