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Deignan and Roche shine in Switerzland

Posted 17 June 2010

Philip Deignan staked his claim on a Tour de France spot today when he escaped in a 13 man breakaway which almost went the distance in the queen stage of the Tour de Suisse where Robert Gesink triumphed to become the new race leader.

Deignan proved that his form is almost back to its best and that he is worthy of a Tour place on the Cervelo Test Team when he made the break which went away inside the first ten kilometes of racing.

The group chalked up a lead of 2:50 over the hors category Sustenpass and extended that advantage to 5:30 before the time they crested the first category climb of the Oberalppass after 67 kilometres.

Its future was always in doubt with three of its members lying within 75 seconds of race leader Tony Martin (HTC Columbia) but the group worked well to maintain its lead through the undulating valleys.

Italian Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) had the most to gain having started the day just 26 seconds behind Martin while Deignan himself carried the largest deficit at 32:51.

The group became uneasy as its lead dipped below 4 minutes on the foothills of the final hors category climb of the Albulapass with Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas-Doimo) and Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) launching an attack.

The duo who went into the stage 11 minutes behind Martin were quickly joined by Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) had more to lose having started the day 1:15 down with Marco Marcato (Vancansoleil) and Mathias Frank (BMC) also finding the legs to go with them.

Deignan was uncomfortable with the injection in pace and he drifted from the remnants of the breakaway after two kilometres while Brice Felliu (Vacansoleil) dug deep to bridge to the five up front with the peloton 3:50 behind.

The chase by the main bunch was disrupted by almost a minute thanks to a train level crossing  leaving Felliu with enough time to recover and launch a solo attack before Deignan was collected with 28 kilometres to go.

The average 7% gradient over the 13.5 kilometre climb wreaked havoc on the race as Andy Schleck and Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) led a group containing Gesink, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo), Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) and Stijn Devolder (Quickstep) in sweeping up the break’s back markers.

Schleck sprung off the front of that group just as a large group containing his brother Frank, Radioshack riders Lance Armstrong, Andreas Kloden and Levi Leimpheimer, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Steve Morabito (BMC Racing) made contact leaving Martin rapidly losing time behind.

Gesink replied within a kilometre and joined Schleck in pulling back Feillu and Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Garate as the last members of the early break before bolting off the front with 14 kilometres to go.

He carved out a lead of 1:05 over the top with 10 kilometres to go with Rodriguez, Kreuziger, Morabito, Carrara, Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne) and Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas-Doimo) closest, followed by Frank Schleck and Armstrong a further five seconds back.

Nicolas Roche was picking up where Deignan left off in flying the Irish flag having limited his losses to just over a minute for much of the climb in the company of Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil), Gustav Erik Larsson (Saxo Bank) and Rafael Valls (Footon-Servetto).

The AG2R La Mondiale rider was also putting time into race leader Martin at one point but the German used the long descent to make up lost ground while Gesink held off the chasers to claim the stage by 47 seconds which was enough to put him into the yellow jersey.

Roche made the most to the technical descent to finish 20th  on the stage and to limit his losses to 3:50 and is just a further second back on Gesink in the overall general classification where he now lies 19th.

Deignan found his rhythm in a large group of riders and finished the stage 25:11 down with his performance certain to influence his team as it makes a final decision upon the names of the nine riders that it is going to send to the Tour de France. The Donegal man is now 121st overall at 57:45.


Stage 6: Meiringen-La Punt, 213 kilometres

1.  Robert Gesink (Rabobank)  6 hours, 20 minutes, 53 seconds
2.  Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) at 0:00:42
3.  Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha)
4.  Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas-Doimo)
5.  Lance Armstrong (Radioshack)
6.  Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil)
7.  Steve Morabito (BMC Racing)
8.  Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank)
9.  Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas-Doimo) all same time
10.  Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) at 0:01:20

20. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 3 minutes, 50 seconds
117. Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) at 25 minutes, 11 seconds

General classification after stage 6:

1.  Robert Gesink (Rabobank)  25 minutes, 18 minutes, 57 seconds
2.  Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) at 0:00:29
3.  Steve Morabito (BMC Racing) at 0:00:36
4.  Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) at 0:00:38
5.  Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha) at 0:00:42
6.  Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) at 0:00:54
7.  Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) at 0:00:55
8.  Oliver Zaugg (Liquigas-Doimo) at 0:01:01
9.  Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) at 0:01:17
10.  Thomas Löfkvist (Team Sky) at 0:01:38

19. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 3 minutes, 51 seconds
121. Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) at 57 minutes, 45 seconds

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