Ayuso Wins Stage 8 of Tour de Suisse
Sunday’s stage 8 of Tour de Suisse 2023 was the final stage of this year’s race. The stage was organized as a 25.7-kilometer individual time trial in somewhat hilly terrain in beautiful Swiss landscape. The route took the riders from St. Gallen to Abtwil and was partially contested on small roads.
Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Søren Kragh Andersen set an early fastest time in the individual time trial and entered the hotseat. He was later replaced by Ineos-Grenadiers’ Connor Swift. Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep) later powered across the finish line at a fast pace and reduced the best time by approximately thirty seconds.
European time trial champion Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost) set the best time at intermediate timing point 2. Was the Swiss rider on the way to a stage victory?
Bissegger set a new best time when he crossed the finish line in 32:48 minutes. He was the new man in the hotseat. But Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was yet to finish his time trial and riders such as Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost), Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tour de Suisse race leader Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) were yet to start.
Van Aert was less than a second slower than Bissegger at Intermediate Timing Point 2. Would he beat Bissegger’s time when he reached the finish line? Van Aert was five seconds slower than Bissegger and Bissegger remained nervous in the hotseat.
Uran delivered a disappointing effort at Intermediate Timing Point 1. Uran was 28 seconds behind Asgreen, who was still the fastest man at ITP1.
Neilson Powless was 23 seconds behind teammate Bissegger across the finish line. Would he be part of EF Education-EasyPost’s team for Tour de France 2023 – and would Uran?
At Intermediate Timing Point 1 Ayuso set a time that would be sufficiently fast to move past race leader Skjelmose in the general classification. Adding to this, Evenepoel was now the fastest man at Intermediate Timing Point 1 while Skjelmose was 24 seconds slower than the Belgian.
Evenepoel was sixteen seconds faster than Bissegger at Intermediate Timing Point 2. It now looked unlikely Bissegger would take a much sought after stage victory. Ayuso beat Evenepoel’s time by more than five seconds. Things were now looking grim for both Bissegger and Skjelmose. Would Ayuso win the stage 8 time trial and wing the general classification too?
Evenepoel beat Bissegger’s finish time by fifteen seconds. He was the new fastest man across the finish line. It did, however, not take long before Ayuso clocked an even faster finish time. Evenepoel would not enter the hotseat today.
General classification leader Skjelmose was the last man on the Swiss roads. Would he be able to clock a finish time that was fast enough to keep his overall race lead or would Ayuso move past him on the final day?
Skjelmose managed to protect his overall race lead and is the winner of Tour de Suisse 2023. Ayuso won stage 8 ahead of Evenepoel.
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