Peter Sagan (Liquigas) grabbed his second stage win of the 2011 Tour de Suisse on Saturday, out-accelerating Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) and
Britain’s Ben Swift (Sky)
to the line.
Swift opened up his sprint first but was passed by Sagan and Goss just metres from the finish. Sagan also won stage three and placed second on stage four – his performance has elevated him to one of the favourites for bunch sprints at the Tour de France.
Swift’s British Sky team-mate Ian Stannard placed eighth.
The big news, though, was that the two categorised climbs of Hallauerberg and Siblingerhohe in the final 20km caused a big split in the bunch, with race leader Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) crucially making the front group.
As soon as Leopard-Trek realised that some time could be gained on Schleck’s rivals, they hammered it on the front of the lead group, quickly opening up a significant gap on the chasers.
Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) was one of those caught out, losing 47 seconds to Cunego and Schleck at the finish. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) was another rider to miss the cut, and will leave the race empty-handed.
The result was that Cunego’s lead in the overall classification has widened, with Mollema dropping from second overall to fifth. Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) is now in second place at 1-36, with Frank Schleck moving up to third at 1-41.
The 2011 Tour de Suisse concludes on Sunday with a decisive 32.1km individual time trial in Schaffhausen – and Cunego has significantly increased his chances of an overall win after a week of canny riding.
Tour de Suisse 2011, stage eight: Tubach to Schaffhausen, 167.3 km
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
2. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
4. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo
6. Jose Rojas Spa) Movistar
7. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep
8. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) Astana
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad all same time
Overall classification after stage eight
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
2. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 1-36
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-41
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 1-59
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 2-11
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 2-38
7. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 3-10
8. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 3-11
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at 3-20
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 3-22
Peter Sagan takes his second stage win of the 2011 Tour de Suisse
Damiano Cunego looks good for the overall win on Sunday
Tour de Suisse 2011: Related links
Stage seven: De Gendt wins as Schleck tests form
Stage six: Kruijswijk climbs to win stage six
Stage six photo gallery
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