Tour de Suisse (st. 7)
Portuguese rider still in yellow after a great performance in Gossau, the first of three decisive stages for the overall result, with the Spaniard now in 4th place. Two mountain routes coming up in the weekend
Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde did a nice effort in the first of three ‘finals’ that will decide the outcome of the 2012 Tour de Suisse. The two Movistar Team riders defended themselves solvently in the 34.3-kilometer ITT stage seven in Gossau, and have their GC positions reinforced before the duo of mountainous stages that will end the race up in the weekend. Costa, leading the event since last Sunday after his victory atop Verbier’s summit, was 8th in the stage, only 40 seconds behind the day’s winner Fredrik Kessiakoff (AST) and above his main rivals for the GC -Dutchman Robert Gesink (RAB) was the only one putting time on him by 13 seconds-, what awarded him a sixth consecutive yellow jersey. In turn, Valverde clocked 40 seconds slower than his teammate but also overcame some of the GC favourites, what made him jump into the 4th spot behind Gesink, Kreuziger and Costa, whom is just 1.04 behind.
The Helvetic course will be played out this weekend with two days in the mountains. The first one comes on Saturday, with 148k from Bischofszell and towards the HC ascent of Arosa, after almost 30 kilometers of non-stop climbing as the riders tackle the Col de Castiel (Cat. 2) first. The Queen stage is scheduled for Sunday, with 215 kilometers and four categorized climbs in the second half of the route.
QUOTES / Rui Costa: “To tell the truth, today’s overview couldn’t be better. I spent the morning doing the recon with Alejandro, firstly into the team car and then on the bike for the last part, and there we saw it was a ITT that could do well for the two of us. It wasn’t a flat TT at all, but rather a hilly one, full of pace changes. I tried to keep a regular rhythm and give my maximum at the end. I knew, by the references I was being given, that I was riding within the best, but I didn’t know how the other favourites were doing. Now there are two really hard stages ahead, two selective ones, but I’m confident because I have such great teammates by my side. They’re developing an extraordinary work here. Let’s hope that my body responds well this weekend. My rivals? Not only those two or three people might be thinking of. There are many who are still close to me, talented ones which we must keep respect to. For me, the most important thing is having someone like Alejandro here. Knowing that he’s there makes me so calm. He could well be contesting the GC and committed himself to helping me. That offers you enormous confidence and I’m really grateful towards him.“