Superb first mountain-top finish in Switzerland by Soler, already 5th overall after remaining with top contenders until final 1.5km of Villars-sur-Ollon climb
It was a crucial day to test the favourites' waters in the Tour de Suisse, and Marc Soler (Movistar Team) couldn't have responded better. The Catalan claimed a magnificent 7th spot at the HC mountain-top finish of Villars-sur-Ollon, after a short (150km), demanding day with the approach climb of Les Mosses (Cat-1). Marc's result, well above many GC contenders, sets him again in a promising trend after the splendid podium finish in the Volta a Catalunya.
The 23-year-old from Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona), well supported until halfway through the finishing climb by Carlos Betancur and Víctor de la Parte, progressed well through the elite group as a decisive acceleration came from five riders: Frank, Pozzovivo (ALM), Kruijswijk (TLJ), Spilak (KAT) and Caruso (BMC). As Larry Warbasse (ABS) held on to catch a coveted stage victory via the early break, Soler kept the strong pace and numerous attacks from his rivals, until losing their wheel, following a huge effort, just over 1km from the end. It was only 19" concede by Marc on the front of that GC group, which allows him remaining fully in contention: Soler's now 5th overall, 31" after Caruso and only 7" behind Pozzovivo and Spilak, tied in 3rd and 4th.
Soler still has two demanding mountain stages ahead -with the Albulapass on Thursday followed by the terrible Tiefenbachferner on Friday- plus the TT showdown in Schaffhausen on Sunday. Before that, the squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena will have to get through a marathon stage five, 222km from Bex to Cevio in the Italian-speaking Ticino, that feature the seemingly endless Simplonpass (HC) and the Druogno (Cast-3) ascent just over 50km from the end.
Picture (c): Photo Gomez Sport