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Roche up to 18th as illness puts Deignan out

Posted 19 June 2010

Nicolas Roche produced another solid ride in today’s penultimate stage of the Tour de Suisse to leave himself with a real opportunity of improving his overall standing in the final time trial stage.

The AG2R La Mondiale rider showed his class in making the cut when the main bunch was slimmed down to just 30 riders as it gave chase to a seven man breakaway inside the closing 15 kilometres.

Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) was unable to start the stage due to recurring illness with his withdrawl certain to throw his prospects of being selected for the next month's Tour de France into doubt.

The breakaway of Gerald Ciolek (Milram), Gregory Rast (Radioshack), Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions), Maxime Monfort (HTC Columbia), Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux), Lars Peter Nordhaug (Team Sky) and Caisse d’Epargne riders Rui Da Costa and Jose Joaquin Rojas escaped after 28 kilometres.

They worked well together over the first two climbs but an attack from Monfort on the third climb of the third category Wintersinger shed Ciolek and Rast while signaling the start of series of attacks and counter attacks over the final 36 kilometres.

Da Costa and Rojas always had the upper hand with the two Caisse d’Epargne riders neutralising two attacks by Monfont and one by a battling Casar en route to the 21.5 kilometres finishing circuit  in Liestal as the peloton trailed at 2:45.

Rojas caught and passed Casar on the final climb of the Arisdorf  but a resilient Monfort bridged to him meters before the summit with Da Costa shadowing Casar and he found a second wind to rejoin the two leaders over the top.

Vanotti, Nordhaug and Danielson came back for the second time on the descent but the reunion was short-lived with Da Costa launching the stage winning move at the ten kilometre to go mark.

A string of attacks were also causing problems within the main peloton with race leader Robert Gesink left to do much of the work as his Rabobank team fell short once the Cervelo Test Team put a halt to its efforts on the front.

The large group was rapidly reduced to thirty riders with Roche riding comfortably and conservatively within that select group as they started to eat into the gap of almost three minutes to the leaders up front.

Thor Hushovd eventually lead them home just 1:16 behind Da Costa. Roche finished 30th moving up one place to 18th in the GC heading into tomorrow’s closing time trial where he hopes to pare back some of the 3:51 he has lost to Gesink.

Result:

Stage 8: Wetzikon-Liestal, 172.4 kilometres

1.  Rui Da Costa (Caisse d'Epargne) 4 hours, 10 minutes, 32 seconds
2.  Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) at 0:00:15
3.  Maxime Monfort (HTC - Columbia ) at 0:00:19
4.  Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux) at 0:00:34
5.  Alessandro Vanotti (Liquigas-Doimo)
6.  Lars Petter Nordhaug (Team Sky) all same time
7.  Tom Danielson (Garmin-Transitions) at 0:00:39
8.  Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Farnese Vini) at 0:01:14
9.  Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) at 0:01:16
10. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) same time

30. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1:16
DNS: Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team)

General classification after stage 8:

1.  Robert Gesink (Rabobank ) 34 hours, 27 minutes, 47 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 (TeamSky) at 0:01:38

18. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 3 minutes, 51 seconds

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