Fine start for Ion in Switzerland
14 June 2014

Suisse (st. 1) / Dauphiné (st. 7)

Basque allrounder takes 9th at short, opening TT in the Tour de Suisse, ahead of many GC contenders. Antón and Visconti show courage at Queen stage in Dauphiné

A really open 78th Tour de Suisse started today in Bellinzona, the capital city of the canton Ticino in the south of the country, with a 9.4km individual time trial including a long slope, Artore, which allowed some of the GC contenders defying supremacy by the specialists, including Tony Martin (OPQ), who nonetheless went out to win the stage and put on the first yellow jersey. Ion Izagirre, the Movistar Team’s biggest hopeful for the day and also for this year’s Helvetic stagerace, took the challenge with appetite and proved to have the legs for as well the flat as for the climb, clocking the 9th quickest time of the afternoon, 27″ down on the German and ahead of all race favourites bar three: Pozzovivo (ALM), Mollema (BEL) and Slagter (GRS). The overall could see some changes right tomorrow, even though the Gothard (HC), the Furkapass (HC) and the Grimselpass (Cat-2) will be far from Sarnen’s finish (182km). Still, the short Brünigpass (Cat-2) is just 22k from the end.

Courchevel set to close mini-Tour with fireworks
With even more courage, but with different force, the Blues tackled the Queen stage of the 66th Critérium du Dauphiné, a ‘five-star’ mountain contest with as many categorized climbs in just 160km, totalizing 4,000m drop towards the barrage of Emosson (HC), whose top came after the also-demanding Col de la Forclaz (HC). Giovanni Visconti, part of the early, 16-man break which saw Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (AST) claiming the day’s honours, and Igor Antón, with an attack from the favourites’ group halfway through the finishing ascent -he was 17th at the arrivée-, were the Movistar Team’s top performers prior to the end of the first French adventure in the month of June. 131.5km will be covered tomorrow, with four climbs including the Courchevel (HC), as Contador (TCS) defends a yellow jersey conquered today after putting 20″ on Kenyan-born Briton Chris Froome (SKY).