Route du Sud (st. 1) / Tour de Suisse (st. 6)
Climber from Ecuador gets deep into the fight for overall honours after making decisive, 13-man break with six minutes over the main field. Soler still 6th overall in Switzerland after offensive Albulapass climb
The opening stage of the Route du Sud has created a somewhat decisive selection within the GC contenders, as a 13-man breakaway reached the finish line in Saint-Pons-en-Thommières with more than six minutes of advantage over the peloton. A brilliant Richard Carapaz jumped away from the big group into the Col de Bane (Cat-2), 45km from the end, and bridged back to the early escape, which local rider Julien Loubet (ADT) left behind into the penultimate descent to the stage win
The Carapaz group –notably featuring Elissonde (SKY), Maté, Perez (COF), Feillu (FVC) and Arroyo (CJR)– finished 33 seconds behind, and put six minutes over the main bunch, including four Movistar Team members: José Joaquín Rojas, Jorge Arcas, Dani Moreno and José Herrada. Sprinters should have their say on Friday's stage two, over 178km with a slightly uphill (3%) finish in Saramon, after the 'côte' of Bézeril is tackled 25km from the end. Carapaz will take the start with the white jersey as best young rider in the Occitan race.
Tour de Suisse: Soler remains in contention
In turn, Marc Soler continues to fight for overall honours in the Tour de Suisse after stage six saw no big gaps at the end of the Albulapass (HC) ascent and descent towards La Punt. The Catalan climber from the Movistar Team played offensive all over the decisive climb, going twice on the attack and taking advantage from the position of team-mate Antonio Pedrero, who was part of the early break and waited later on for his team leader to act as launchpad for a move from the young, tall Spaniard.
At the closing stages of the climb, Domenico Pozzovivo (ALM) escaped from the GC group, caught solo leader Mike Woods (CDT) and reached the finishing line solo after a very wet, dangerous descent. The Italian has got hold of the leader's jersey, tied with Damiano Caruso (BMC), as Soler now sits 6th (35" back) and Víctor de la Parte conserves a fine 12th spot. The climbers' showdown will be awaiting for both on Friday -a TT will decide the GC result on Sunday- as the long-feared Tiefenbachferner in Sölden, one of the most demanding climbs of the year, will put an end to stage seven: 14.5km at almost 10% average and massive heights, the summit just under 2,800 meters above sea level.