Rigoberto Urán won his first time trial in more than six years, with the Colombian devastating the Tour de Suisse competition with a rapid time on stage seven.
The EF Education – Nippo rider was a huge 40 seconds faster than nearest challenger Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) in the 23.2km mountainous time trial.
Not since the 2015 Colombian nationals has Urán, now 34, won a time trial, but he showed his form just a fortnight out from the Tour de France to move into second overall on GC with just one stage remaining.
Stage five victor Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers was fourth fastest and he remained in the lead ahead of the decisive final day.
Although he increased his advantage to Jakob Fuglsang (Astana-Premier Tech), who was second on GC going into the stage, by almost a minute, Carapaz’s 26 second lead was whittled down to just 17 seconds thanks to Urán’s impressive effort.
Elsewhere, Tom Dumoulin was just two seconds off a podium spot on his continued return to racing, the Jumbo-Visma man settling for fifth with the same time as Carapaz, the duo two seconds slower than Bahrain-Victorious’ Gino Mäder who claimed third-place.
How it happened
The mountainous time trial was as simple in design as it was risky in reality, with riders starting in the valley at 1,400m of elevation before climbing 9.5km to 2,046m. They then had an 11km descent into Andermatt.
Riders chose different set-ups for the race, some on road bikes, others on time trial-specific machines. Disc wheels or deep rims were also dependent on a rider’s preference.
From the moment he set off, Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) looked fast, powerful and intent on proving competitive, reaching the summit of Overalp Pass in a time of 26:49, the quickest in the race up to that point by some 34 seconds.
On the descent, the Dane touched speeds approaching 100kmh as he favoured a risky approach in order to improve his time. He finished with a time of 37:06.
The next rider to impress was Dumoulin who posted a time six seconds faster than Andersen at the top of the climb, and then finished with a new fastest time of 36:58. Just a minute later, however, Mader beat him by two seconds.
New best times were being reset almost every few minutes at the climb’s summit, with Domenico Pozzovivo of Qhubeka Assos going six seconds faster than Mader but not descending fast enough to maintain his lead, eventually finishing seventh.
Urán was the first and only rider to go sub-26 minutes up the climb, Alaphilippe threatening to as well, but ultimately 12 seconds shy of Uran with a time of 26:11.
Urán maintained his advantage on the downhill and recorded a blistering time of 36:02, with Alaphilippe coming home 40 seconds in arrears but still posting the second quickest time.
Carapaz was the eighth fastest up the mountain, but Fugslang was way down in 20th position, the Dane unable to mount a comeback on the descent neither, finishing with the 15th fastest time, 103 seconds off Uran’s effort. He slipped to fifth on GC.
Carapaz descended quickly and impressively finished in fourth place with a time of 36:56. The 2019 Giro d’Italia winner, who hasn’t won a stage race since his Grand Tour victory, will be confident of sealing the victory on Sunday.
Result: Tour de Suisse, stage seven: Disentis Sedrun > Andermatt (23.2km)
1. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-Nippo in 36.02
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceunink-Quick Step at 40 seconds
3. Gino Mäder (Sui) Bahrain-Victorious at 54s
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers at same time
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 56s
6. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick Step at 58s
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka Assos at 1:00
8. Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Team Emirates at same time
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM at 1:04
10. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ at 1:05
General classification after stage seven
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers in 20:37.27
2. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-Nippo at 17s
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick Step at 39s
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-hansgrohe at 1.07
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech at 1.15
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation at 3.10
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Qhubeka-Assos at 3.16
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 3.39
9. Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Team Emirates at 3.43
10. Esteban Chaves (Col) BikeExchange at 4.29
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