Marek Rutkiewicz was another CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider who has made the breakaway of the day in Tour de Suisse. He stayed at the front basically the entire rainy Stage 6 and was caught in the very finale.
Even when the gap dropped to under 2 minutes, with 60 kilometers to go, we could still save some energy, because we knew that the peloton doesn’t want to catch us too soon. We used that energy in the final 30 kilometers when we went full gas – Marek Rutkiewicz said afterwards. – It was rainy and slippery so we had the advantage over the bunch in towns, on twisty roads and roundabouts. Long straight roads and headwind favored peloton though. We had completely “empty” legs in the very end, since we spent almost all day in the break. We took off right after kilometer zero, so we did over 190 kilometers in the escape. Of course it’s a pity we were reeled in so close from the finish, but this is cycling. You have to keep trying.
I’ve said before the race, that first few stages will be hard for those who had competed in Giro d’Italia. This year’s edition was one of the hardest in the last few years and many riders confirm that. Also part of the riders who had taken part in the Italian Grand Tour and came to Switzerland, has already abandoned. On the first stages I was suffering a lot, but now I’m getting back to the race rhythm and today I felt much better.
Marek Rutkiewicz broke clear early on, with Matej Mohoric, Jerome Baugnies and Axel Domont. Despite good collaboration the gap was never bigger than 5 minutes. The bunch wanted to bring the race to a mass sprint, since the profile was relatively flat and fast riders had stage success in their minds.
The maximum advantage reached 4:50, with 70 kilometers into the race. Few kilometers further, Rutkiewicz won the only KOM of the day (cat.3). Teams, which were aiming for the stage win, reduced the gap quite early and when it was 60 kilometers to go it dropped to under 2 minutes. Then the main group controlled the lead and it leveled out at around 1:30.
On the final 20 kilometers, a duo from Movistar – Adriano Malori and Fran Ventoso – tried to bridge the gap. They dangled between the two groups and eventually got caught by the bunch.
When it was 10 kilometers left, Rutkiewicz’s group was still one minute ahead and it didn’t want to surrender easily. Everyone in the break was contributing to the pace and the speed in the peloton was not much higher than the speed in the escape. The gap was decreasing slowly and escapees’ hopes about the victory were alive until 1,2 kilometers to go. This is when they were reeled in.
The stage ended with a sprint from a stretched peloton. Peter Sagan was the fastest and grabbed the win. He outsprinted Jurgen Roelands (Lott-Soudal) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Adrian Honkisz was the team’s top finisher, in 40th place, while Davide Rebellin is still the highest ranked “rider in orange”. He is 27th overall, 13:22 behind Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).