Elia Viviani proved his return to form once more with a second consecutive victory on stage five of the 2019 Tour de Suisse.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step sprinter glided into the final corner on the front and carried speed into his sprint on the cobbled run to the line to best race leader Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Viviani and Sagan went clear of the bunch thanks to perfect positioning in the final turn, but Sagan was on the wheel of the Italian national champion and had no opportunity to pass, being forced to settle for second place.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was the best of the rest and took third place just behind.
Sagan held onto his race lead, extending to 14 seconds over Michael Matthews (Sunweb)
How it happened
Stage five of the 2019 Tour de Suisse saw the peloton tackle a punchy parcours that had potential for the sprinters if they were strong enough over 177km from Münchenstein to Einsiedeln, 40km south east of Zurich.
The race featured five hard uncategorised climbs in the opening half, with countless smaller rises along the way to the main climb of the day, the second category ascent to Sattel (13.1km at 3.6 per cent average) which started 50km from the line.
A third category climb in Einsiedeln (1.1km at 5.6 per cent) came with 26km left to race, marking the start of the flat finishing circuit around the town.
The race then culminated with a short and gradual rise to the finish, with a final right turn in the final 500 metres
Early racing saw four riders attack from the peloton and quickly pull out a gap over the lumpy profile.
Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Fabien Grellier (Total-Direct Energie) and Bert-Jan Lindemann (Jumbo-Visma) made up the initial break, before Lindemann slipped back early on to leave a trio out front.
The break extended their advantage to a maximum of around three minutes in the opening 100km, before the peloton opted to shorten the leash.
At the foot of the Sattel climb the escape were down to around 1-30, with Küng, Mohorič and Grellier sticking together before Mohoric opened up a move on the ascent, reaching the top alone.
The climb wasn’t steep enough to endanger the sprinters chances at the victory, as a full peloton crested together.
Bora-Hansgrohe and Sunweb worked hard throughout the day to support their respective fast-men Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews.
Determined to make his attack stick, Slovenian champion Mohorič adopted his trademark top tube tuck on the descents, but despite his marginal gains the gap tumbled from 1-50 down to 30 seconds in the final kilometre.
Confident of the catch, the peloton stalked Mohorič before pulling him in with 15km left to race.
Into the final 10km, the complete bunch bulldozed its way through Swiss villages under the weight of the Sunweb, Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE Team Emirates trains.
With 4km left to race the peloton hit full gas, Team Ineos leading the charge, Sunweb behind and Deceuninck – Quick-Step conspicuous in their absence.
Things got chaotic inside the final 2km as no team was able to control the front, but it was Quick-Step who emerged at the nose with Kasper Asgreen leading Yves Lampaert, Michael Mörköv and Max Richeze with Vivani tucked tightly at the tail of the train.
Quick-Step nailed their tactics in the final kilometre, as Richeze led Viviani on the approach to the final turn, with Sagan behind.
As Richeze peeled off while leaning into the corner, Viviani was able to carry speed on the cobbled turn and opened up his sprint the second he straightened up.
Sagan trailed on Viviani’s wheel as the pair pulled out a slight gap on the peloton, but the Slovakian national champion was never in with chance at passing as Viviani sprinted hard but easily crossed the line first.
Tour de Suisse 2019, stage five: Münchenstein to Einsiedeln (177km)
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 4-18-26
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jasper Stuyben (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7. Fabian Lienhard (Sui) Switzerland
8. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
9. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
10. Patrick Bevin (Nzl) CCC Team, all at same time
General classification after stage five
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 15-55-48
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 14s
3. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 21s
4. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida, at 22s
5. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First, at 27s
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott, at 38s
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 39s
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) Team Ineos, at 40s
9. Luis León Sánchez (Esp) Astana Pro Team
10. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar, all at same time