Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha) won the fifth stage of Tour of Switzerland as part of the early break of seven riders that stayed away throughout the entire stage.
None of the riders in the escape group were a threat to the general classification, and Rui Costa (Movistar) easily held onto his race lead. ORICA-GreenEDGE had a fairly quiet day in Switzerland, and Neil Stephens explains why below.
We’ve had a couple of the guys complaining about gastro problems over the last few days, and things came to head with those issues overnight. Matt Wilson, in particular, was sick during the night. He started today but he wasn’t able to finish, so we’re now two riders short, having lost Aidis Kruopis yesterday.
A few of the other riders weren’t feeling great, either. I told them that we had no choice but to take things as they came today. We weren’t going to be initiators. We would sit back, see how things go and hope to get through the day as positively as possible.
I had doubts about what we could do with how they were feeling, so I discouraged the team from being too proactive. I thought if it were going to be offensive, we should save ourselves for the finale. As things were, an early break got a huge lead. It was the right combination of riders with no one dangerous from the overall. Liquigas had Daniel Oss in the move, so the strongest sprinter in the race, Peter Sagan, was covered by his teammate.
It was a somewhat strange situation. Everyone turned to us to do the chase work. They wanted us to ride on the front to pull back the break. Despite not feeling well, the boys expressed interest and willingness to do the work. I had to hold them back. I told them we ride all the time. We’ve twice now done the bulk of the chase work. We weren’t full force because of illness, and I didn’t want them using up energy today. I thought another team would step up to take our place, but because we didn’t ride, no one did.
So, the break stayed away, and the bunch came in more than 11 minutes down. We’re hoping that the relative rest today and a good night of sleep will give the boys a chance to start tomorrow’s stage feeling a lot better than they did today.
Image courtesy of IOrica-GreenEDGE Pro Cycling