Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) took the first professional win of his career on Thursday,
conquering the mountain-top finish
at the end of stage six of the 2011 Tour de Suisse.
Twenty-four-year-old Kruijswijk accelerated away from a compact group of overall hopefuls including race leader Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) in the final 2.5km of the stage to Triesenberg.
Cunego then linked up with Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack) to chase Kruijswijk. The change in acceleration was too much for Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) who lost contact with Cunego.
In the final, very steep 500 metres, Leipheimer rode away from Cunego to claim second, with the Italian coming home in third.
Schleck fought back to claim sixth, with Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) putting in a strong ride after crashing earlier in the stage to finish seventh.
Cunego continues to lead the race overall. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) sits in second place at 1-20, with Kruijswijk elevated to third.
Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar) crashed badly during the stage leading to the race being neutralised for a short time while the situation was assessed. Stage two winner Soler, who started the day in second place overall, was air-lifted to hospital with a suspected skull fracture after colliding with a spectator.
An early three-man escape group comprising Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Angel Madrazo (Movistar) and Unsausti Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was caught near the base of the day’s final climb.
Stage seven on Friday features more mountains, with the hors categorie 2383 metre Flüela Pass climb in the middle of the 222.8km stage followed by two more categorised climbs including the finish at Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria.
The UCI World Tour-level race concludes on Sunday, June 19, with a decisive 32.1km individual time trial.
Tour de Suisse 2011, stage six: Tobel-Tagerschen to Triesenberg, 157.7 km
1. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 9 secs
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 18 secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 21 secs
5. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at same time
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 30 secs
7. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at same time
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 1-19
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 1-27
10. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-42
Overall classification after stage six
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-23
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 1-36
4. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-41
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack at 1-59
6. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 2-24
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 2-45
8. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at 3-00
9. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 3-11
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 3-22
Race leader Damiano Cunego
Tour de Suisse 2011: Related links
Stage five: Bozic sprints to win
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