Slovenian Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) took a surprise sprint win on stage five of the 2011 Tour de Suisse on Wednesday.
Bozic capitalised on a scrappy finish, with many of the big sprinters’ teams losing touch with their leaders on the uphill rise to the line. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) looked to have the win but slowed slightly before the line allowing Bozic to snatch the victory.
Stage three winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was once again in the mix, placing third on the stage to retain his lead in the points classification.
Brit Ben Swift (Sky) finished in tenth spot on the stage. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was one of several riders to get boxed in as teams jostled for position and did not contest the sprint.
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) came home in the main bunch to keep his overall lead of the race. The Italian sits 54 seconds ahead of Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar). Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) sits in third at 1-16.
The day’s proceedings were largely dominated by a four-man escape group which formed after just a few kilometres from the stage start in Huttwil.
Jan Barta (NetApp), Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1), Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Daniel Sesma (Euskaltel-Euskadi) were kept dangling with a controllable gap until the final 30km, when Barta decided to go it alone on the final finishing circuit.
Barta hung it out until 14km to go, when the peloton came back together for a bunch sprint.
HTC-Highroad lined-up its train for Cavendish, with Sky on the other side of the road for Swift. However, things didn’t go to plan for both teams with other squads looking to get into the action. Several riders touched elbows, splitting up the order in the bunch and creating a free-for-all.
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) attempted a solo move in the final kilometre as the road started to rise up, but he was caught.
Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) then attacked in the final 500m and was only passed by five riders, including team-mate Bozic, to end up claiming sixth.
The riders head back to the mountains on Thursday, with a 157.7km stage finishing with a steep hors categorie ascent up to Triesenberg/Malbun.
The UCI World Tour-level race concludes on Sunday, June 19, with a decisive 32.1km individual time trial.
Tour de Suisse 2011, stage five: Huttwil to Tobel-Tagerschen, 204.2 km
1. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad
5. Jose Gil (Spa) Movistar
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
8. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek
9. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
10. Ben Swift (GB) Sky all same time
Overall classification after stage five
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
2. Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Movistar at 54 secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-16
4. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 1-19
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 1-21
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-25
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 1-32
8. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha at 1-53
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 2-00
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 2-10
Damiano Cunego keeps the leader’s jersey for another day
Borut Bozic looks as though he’s even surprised himself
Tour de Suisse 2011: Related links
Stage four: Hushovd beats Sagan to stage four win
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three: Sagan wins as Cunego takes lead
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two: Soler leads Tour de Suisse, Froome ninth overall
Cavendish and Swift line up for Tour de Suisse