Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) won the eighth stage of the 2014 Tour de Suisse, while Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) limited his losses to retain the overall lead.
Chaves made his well-timed move with just less than four kilometres to go, moments after the race had come back together with the survivors of earlier attacks being caught. Davide Formolo (Cannondale) followed his move initially, but couldn’t handle the pace and was dropped with two kilometres, leaving Chaves to seal an impressive solo win.
It is the Colombian’s second high-profile win, following his stage win on a similar mountain-top finish at the Tour of California last month.
Despite all (apart from Giant-Shimano’s Tom Dumoulin) needing to gain over a minute on Tony Martin, there were no attacks until the final few kilometres up the final climb of the Verbier. Matthias Frank (BMC) was the first to try his luck, but failed to open a gap.
Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) then moved to the front and set a pace quick enough to drop most (including one of the pre-stage favourites, Thibaut Pinot), but Martin remained. Eventually Kreuziger managed to escape the group with Bauke Mollema (Belkin), but the pair were only able to gain 14 seconds over Martin’s group, which also included Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Frank.
Tom Dumoulin did enough to retain second overall by finishing in a group close behind Martin’s and Rui Costa retains third overall, while Mollema and Kreuziger move up to fifth and seventh respectively following big time losses by Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano).
The break of the day featured Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Christian Knees (Team Sky), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Danilo Wyss (BMC), Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp) and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). They were never given much of a chance to stay away, with Wyss the last to be caught having attacked the rest on the lower slopes of the Verbier.
Sky’s Peter Kennaugh was forced to abandon after a head cold he has been suffering from developed into a chest problem.
Tour de Suisse 2014, stage eight: Delemont-Verbier, 219km
1. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 5-11-16
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0-03
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at s.t
4. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 0-16
5. Javier Acevedo (Col) Garmin Sharp at 0-17
6. Philip Deignan (Irl) Sky
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale
9. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
10. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling all same time
Overall classification after stage eight
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0-51
3. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1-05
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1-14
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 1-41
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 1-47
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-50
8. Javier Acevedo (Col) Garmin Sharp at 2-07
9. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 2-29
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 2-30