Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Cycling News
Cycling News
Alasdair Fotheringham

As it happened: Tour de Suisse stage 5: Juan Ayuso solos to victory

2023 Tour de Suisse stage 5 winner Juan Ayuso (Image credit: Getty)
(Image credit: Tour de Suisse)

2023 Tour de Suisse - the definitive guide
10 riders to watch at the 2023 Tour de Suisse
How to watch the 2023 Tour de Suisse – Live streaming
Tour de Suisse: Ayuso conquers Albulapass as Skjelmose takes yellow

Hello and welcome to the live coverage of stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse

Racing is about to get underway shortly on this toughest stage of the 2023 Tour de Suisse

George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates) is a non-starter today. So only 155 riders left in the race

UAE have also lost Jay Vine after his crash on stage 4, suffering a suspected dislocated right shoulder and abrasions to his leg, so they're two riders down on stage 5.

Stage 5 of the 2023 Tour de Suisse is now underway. Only 211 kilometres to go. 

This is the second longest stage of the race, incidentally. Stage 6, 215.3 km from La Punt to Oberwil, is four kilometres longer.

Six kilometres in and still no movement. Rather different to Wednesday's manic start.

Meantime here's a look at the GC top ten from our colleagues at FirstCycling

(Image credit: FirstCycling)

Here's a photo of our race leaders from the start of stage 5. Good weather again today, at least so far.

(Image credit: Getty )

Race leaders:

GC: Felix Gall (AG2R-Citröen)

Points: Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)

Mountains: Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty)

Best Young Rider: Felix Gall (AG2R-Citröen)

Teams: Ineos Grenadiers

195 kilometres to go

After a quiet first 15 kilometres the bunch has split in two, with 30 riders up the road. The race leader (Felix Gall) is in the second group.

The lead group swells to 38 in total, and the gap is 40 seconds. For now race radio is saying all the classification leaders are in the second group, but that may change when we get a full list of names. Watch this space.

Today's menu

Km 38.7: Climb: Furkapass (HC Cat.; 16.5km; 6.4%)

Km 71.4: Climb:  Oberalppass: (Cat. 1; 10.7km; 5.6%)

Km 173.2: Sprint: Surava

Km 195.2 - 196.2: Sprint (Golden Kilometre): Veja Alvra

Km 201.2: Climb: Albulapass (HC Cat; 17.4km, 6.8%)

Km 211: Finish: La Punt

Points leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is trying to bridge across to the break, which is now at the foot of the Furka Pass, the first of two HC climbs of the day.

It's a fair bet that this group of 33 riders will shrink on a climb as daunting as the Furka Pass but here's the list in full:

Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers)
Connor Swift (Ineos Grenadiers)
Michael Schar (AG2R-Citröen)
Clement Venturini (AG2R-Citröen)
Michael Gogl (Deceuninck-Alpecin)
Fabio Felline (Astana Qazaqstan)
Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious)
Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Simon Geschke (Cofidis)
Remy Rochas (Cofidis)
Tom Scully  (EF Education-EasyPost)
Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ)
Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
Gorka Izagirre (Movistar)
Lluis Mas (Movistar)
Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep)
Mauro Schmid (Soudal-QuickStep)
Ewan Costiou (Arkea-Samsic)
Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-AIUIa)
Christopher Juul-Jensen (Jayco-AIUIa)
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)
Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)
Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech)
Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech)
Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech)
Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny)
Mark Donovan (Q36.5)
Carl Fredrik Hagen (Q36.5)
Tobias Ludvigsson (Q36.5)
Nickolas Zukowsky (Q36.5)
Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies)
Yannis Voisard (Tudor)

180 kilometres to go

Hardly a surprise, but eight kilometres from the summit of the Furka Pass this big front group is splitting apart.

The most dangerous rider in the group for GC is  Gorka Izagirre (Movistar) at 4:07 on race leader Felix Gall (AG2R-Citroen).

Around 14 riders have opened up a small gap on the remainder of the breakaway. The bunch is about a minute back. 

Race radio is adding a further six names to the constantly splitting front group, making it 39 in total: factor in Rui Costa and Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché); Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost); Xandro Meurisse (Deceuninck-Alpecin), Kelland O'Brien (Jayo-AIUIa) and Oier Lazkano (Movistar).

The front break of 39 is constantly splitting and reforming and we've now got three groups on the climb.

Here's a photo of the race on the Furka Pass

(Image credit: Getty)

Another shot of part of the break

Tour de Suisse 2023 stage 5: the early break on the first climb of the day, the HC Furka Pass (Image credit: Getty)

A kilometre to the summit and yet another reconfiguration of this large, unwieldy, break: 20 riders ahead and an unknown number of riders behind between the front group and the main bunch about a minute back. 

Over the summit for a break now down to 12 riders in the lead, and around 40 seconds back to the bunch. 

The race is on a long descent off the Furka Pass, so the chances are riders will be regaining contact with the front group of 12, while others from the 39-strong breakaway that formed just before the race began climbing the Furka's lower slopes are reabsorbed. 

First abandon of the day: Marius Mayrhofer (DSM)

To further complicate matters, the bunch has split on the descent of the Furka. To hazard a guess, the gap between the break (currently reported as being 18 riders) and the bunch is only  25 seconds, so we'll be looking at a complete restructuring of the race on the next climb, the Oberalppass.

The 18 race leaders reach the foot of the pass with a minute on the bunch. They are:
Van Aert (Jumbo)
Gogl (Deceuninck)
Tiberi (Bahrain)
Higuita (Bora)
Powless (EF)
Kung (Groupama)
Rui Costa (Intermarche)
Gorka Izagirre (Movistar)
Lazkano (Movistar)
Costiou (Arkea)
Sobrero (Jayco)
Juul-Jensen (Jayco)
Simmons (Trek)
Hirschi (UAE)
Houle (Israel)
Neilands (Israel)
Eenkhoorn (Lotto)
Voisard (Tudor)

150 kilometres to go

We're onto the Oberalppass: (Cat. 1; 10.7km; 5.6%), the second climb of three today.

Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe) is currently trying to regain contact with the front group of 18 and his teammate Higuita. The bunch, finally, appear to have sat up.

The gap is up to 2:30 but AG2R are chasing for the race leader Gall.

Haller reaches the front group, making it 19 in total in the break. 2:45 the gap on the bunch.

There are some notable names from Suisse's record books in this break of 19. Higuita was the runner-up last year, of course, but that pales into comparison with the three overall wins (2012-13-14) taken by former World Champion Rui Costa.

Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny) is now provisional leader of the mountains ranking, after claiming second on the Furka pass and ousting Intermarche's Lilian Calmejane (also briefly in the break of the day, but who's now back in the bunch) from the top spot overall.

Two kilometres from the summit of the Oberalppass, and here's a reminder of our 19 racer leaders:
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
Michael Gogl (Deceuninck-Alpecin)
Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious)
Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost)
Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ)
Rui Costa (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty)
Gorka Izagirre (Movistar)
Oier Lazkano (Movistar)
Ewan Costiou (Arkea-Samsic)
Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-AIUIa)
Christopher Juul-Jensen (Jayco)
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)
Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)
Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech)
Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech)
Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny)
Yannis Voisard (Tudor)

The race reaches the top of the Oberalppass and begins the long drop down. Jumbo-Visma help AG2R in the chase behind.

Powless, fourth overall last year, new King of the Mountains provisional leader Eekhoorn and stage 1 winner Kung are opening up a bit of a gap on the descent.

130 kilometres to go

The trio are brought back. Eenkhoorn picked up maximum points  on offer on the summit of the Oberalppass, incidentally, strengthening his provisional mountains lead.

Here's a shot of Küng in the break. He took the stage 1 win and lead, but is clearly up for some more today.

Tour de Suisse 2023 stage 5: Stefan Küng in the break of the day (Image credit: Getty)

News of a second abandon of the day: Louis Barré (Arkéa-Samsic)

120 kilometres to go

3:07 the gap

Some more insight into the UAE Team Emirates double abandon at the Tour de Suisse:

'Absolute dog of a sport sometimes' – Crashes force George Bennett and Jay Vine out of Tour de Suisse

The race has just reached its half-way point for the day on this 211 kilometre stage, but there's still more than 2,000 metres of climbing to go. 

Meanwhile, elsewhere on Planet Cycling...

Giulio Ciccone extends with Trek-Segafredo to the end of 2027

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) (Image credit: Getty )

90 kilometres to go

The gap continues to hover at just over three minutes: 3:10 at the last check.

Still to come

Km 173.2: Sprint: Surava

Km 195.2 - 196.2: Sprint (Golden Kilometre): Veja Alvra

Km 201.2: Climb: Albulapass (HC Cat; 17.4km, 6.8%)

Km 211: Finish: La Punt

80 kilometres to go

The TdS break of the day and peloton are currently tackling a small unclassified climb, nothing in comparison to the 18-kilometre HC Albulapass that is still to come. 3:30 the gap.

Meanwhile on another monster Alpine climb...

24 riders disqualified from U23 Giro d'Italia for holding onto vehicles on Stelvio

The Stelvio: a panoramic shot (Image credit: Getty)

Another abandon: Matthias Norgaard (Movistar). Three riders have quit today so far.

65 kilometres to go

Somewhat ominously for his rivals, race leader and stage 4 winner Felix Gall's AG2R-Citröen team move to the front. The top of the Albulapass is still 40 kilometres away, but the road is already starting to climb and the gradient is basically upwards from here on until the summit after nearly 2,000 metres of vertical climbing. 3:32 the gap.

A reminder of the 19 leaders, Gorka Izagirre the best placed on GC at 4:07.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
Michael Gogl (Deceuninck-Alpecin)
Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious)
Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost)
Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ)
Rui Costa (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty)
Gorka Izagirre (Movistar)
Oier Lazkano (Movistar)
Ewan Costiou (Arkea-Samsic)
Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-AIUIa)
Christopher Juul-Jensen (Jayco)
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)
Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates)
Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech)
Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech)
Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny)
Yannis Voisard (Tudor)

Gorka's brother Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), who won a stage of Suisse, a time trial, back in 2016 and finished third overall, is also in this year's race. Ion is currently lying eleventh on GC, eight spots ahead of Gorka.

50 kilometres to go

Into the final hour-and-a-bit of the stage, and there's still everything to play for.
On paper a 19-rider break with over three minutes should stick to the finish, but when there's an HC-climb inbetween the break and the line, and the race leader needs to gain time on his rivals before Sunday's TT and the race leader has just won one very difficult mountain stage, well...anything could happen.

The gap is dropping slightly, to 3:13

42 kilometres to go

Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) goes on the attack from the break, Kung and Van Aert try to get across.

Simmons, Van Aert and Kung have now opened a gap

The break reforms and now there are half a dozen riders at the front

Simmons drives on from the front, but nothing's sticking yet from this front group of eight riders.

Meantime AG2R are driving hard in the bunch

Van Aert gets the points in the intermediate sprint.

Of the 19, just 12 riders ahead now, after four joined the initial eight to go clear.

The 13 riders ahead:  Gogl; Tiberi; Higuita; Powless; Kung; Costa; Van Aert; Lazkano; Sobrero; Simmons; Hirschi;  Houle; Eenkhoorn.

Van Aert is driving hard at the front of the break

Hirschi is dropped from the front group

25 kilometres to go

3:24 the gap between break and peloton

Lazkano makes a move, but Costa closes it down

Van Aert is still pressing on in the front group while Soudal-QuickStep, working for Evenepoel, pile on the pressure behind in the bunch.

Still ten kilometres of climbing to go on the Albulapass.

Powless makes a determined move from the break, with Costa, Tiberi and Lazkano following.

Gall is looking good in the bunch, for now at least, sitting in fourth wheel behind a small line of Soudal-QuickStep domestiques

The gap for the break has shrunk to 2:27 so with so much climbing left, they can't afford to mess about too much. 

20 kilometres to go

Tiberi, Costa, Powless shed Lazkano and their advantage is rising: 36 seconds on the rest of the breakaway.

Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) drops off the back of the peloton and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) could be in trouble, he's sitting right at the back. So far, none of the big GC names seem to be in difficulties though.

Two kilometres further on and the three stage leaders' advantage has more than doubled, to 1:13.

DSM take over from Soudal-QuickStep at the front of the bunch of about 40 riders.

No sooner have DSM taken over at the front, than AG2R-Citroen follow that up with a pronounced surge of their own that decimates the bunch 

Gall attacks, going flat out 

Evenepoel is dropped from the lead GC group. That was a really powerful attack by Gall.

Kelderman takes over from Gall in trying to keep this GC group ahead. They've all got interests in putting as much time on Evenepoel before Sunday's TT.

15 kilometres to go

After Gall's acceleration there's just a minute between the three ahead (Costa, Tiberi; Powless) and the yellow jersey group.

Five riders in Gall's group: Ayuso, Kelderman, Gall, Bilbao and Bardet.

Powless attacks from the front group and at the same time, a minute back, Ayuso surges clear of the GC group.

Powless is brought back, but he's constantly trying to punch his way clear. Ayuso, meanwhile, is closing in on the trio of stage leaders.

Ayuso is only 1:18 behind Gall on GC, so we could be looking at a big move overall if he keeps ahead.

Ayuso passes Powless, and goes in search of Tiberi and Costa, the last two survivors of the early break of 39.

12 kilometres to g

Ayuso reaches the two stage leaders and storms past. Let's see who can get on his wheel...

And the answer is...nobody. Ayuso is powering clear to become the stage's solo leader.

Kelderman has being doing the bulk of the work on the front of the tiny yellow jersey group also containing Gall and Bilbao, but he's turning round a lot, as if asking for collaboration in keeping Ayuso under control and Evenepoel at a distance.

10 kilometres to go

Ayuso is 55 seconds clear of Gall, Bilbao and Kelderman as he approaches the summit of the HC Albulapass. Excluding time bonuses he's 

The gap rises to 58 seconds as Ayuso reaches the summit, and he's less than 20 seconds away from the lead. Could the yellow jersey change hands for the third time in as many stages?

Ayuso is now powering down a well-surfaced Swiss highway at full speed.

Evenepoel reportedly just 15-20 seconds back on the yellow jersey. If he keeps his losses to that kind of deficit, he'll still be in with a great chance of overall victory.

Four kilometres to go

Scarily high speeds on this fast, open and thankfully dry descent.

Three kilometres

Juan Ayuso powers onwards at the head of the field. Barring disaster, the stage win is his.

Gall's group, which has been reinforced by some other GC contenders, reaches Costa and Tiberi. But Ayuso still more than a minute clear and well out of reach.

One kilometre to go

Ayuso sweeps round a broad lefthander at speed and into the finish village.

A couple more corners and Ayuso is on the finish line...

Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 5 of the 2023 Tour de Suisse

Skjelmose leads in the chasers, with Bilbao in third and Gall struggling slightly in the final metres.

There's only 54 seconds between Ayuso and the chasers, so he's not in the lead. Evenepoel lost around a further 20 seconds.

Thanks to the time bonuses, Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) returns to the race lead. But the gaps are still quite small at the top of the overall and Ayuso is back in the GC game, too.

Evenepoel's time loss sees him drop to 46 seconds behind new leader Skjelmose on GC, but despite shipping some time on all three mountain stages, by limiting the gaps, he's still very much in contention for overall victory.

Here's a top 10 standings on the stage, courtesy of FirstCycling

(Image credit: FirstCycling)

Another big step forward for Juan Ayuso after his very difficult start to the season, and a second stage win in a Swiss WorldTour race for the 2022 Vuelta podium finisher after the time trial in the Tour de Romandie earlier this year.
Suisse is only his second race of the season, and for those wondering why, the answer is perhaps in the way he patted his lower right leg as he crossed the line - a reminder of the suspected neuralgia affecting a tendon making for such a tricky start to 2023.

Here's the GC standings after stage 5, courtesy of FirstCycling, with Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) back on top of the rankings

(Image credit: FirstCycling)

A picturesque shot of Ayuso on the attack

Tour de Suisse 2023: Juan Ayuso en route to victory on stage 5 (Image credit: Getty)

Some words from Ayuso about his second WorldTour stage win in Switzerland in as many races this season and another big step forward for one of Spain's top young riders:
"The two races I've done this year are both here, so I'm happy to be able to win a stage in each race, and now we're going to try and fight for GC. It's going to be hard, but we'll try and do it."
14th and nearly two minutes down on stage 4 on winner Felix Gall, Ayuso says: "It's difficult sometimes to answer, the body is the body, yesterday I had no legs and just had to suffer, then today at the end I felt much better. It was a very hard stage, a lot of climbing, a lot of altitude, so it was very tough."
"But in the end I felt better and better and I attacked when there was still four or five kilometres to the top of the climb, but I was confident I could hold the gap."
Asked if he's now the favourite, Ayuso says "Remco is not far behind and we all know how good he is in the time trial, Mattias is also very strong on the TT bike and Felix is in great form so you never know. For sure it's going to be tight, on Sunday it's going to be very interesting, but there's still some stages to go where everything can happen, there could be some fights for bonus seconds. It's going to be interesting."
"If I win [overall] here though, it's going to be one of my biggest achievements together with the podium on the Vuelta."

Here's a photo of Ayuso crossing the finish line, making that leg-patting gesture

Tour de Suisse 2023: Juan Ayuso wins stage 5 (Image credit: Getty)

Tour de Suisse: Ayuso conquers Albulapass as Skjelmose takes yellow

In the secondary classifications, Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) has returned to the lead of the BYR rankings, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is still in control of the points, Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny) is in charge of the mountains, and AG2R-Citröen may have lost the overall classification lead but they are in command of the teams rankings.

And what's on tomorrow?
Weighing in at 215.3 kilometres and running from La Punt to Oberwil-Lieli, stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse is the longest of the entire race. An early cat.1 climb, the Albulapass (the same as the last climb of stage 5, but tackled in the opposite direction) is followed in quick succession by a cat.2, the Lantsch, then there’s a long grind along the flat before a series of unclassified climbs in the last 50 kilometres. This culminates in the cat. 3 Isliberg, nine kilometres from the finish.

(Image credit: Tour de Suisse)

That concludes our live coverage for today from the Tour de Suisse. We'll be back with more live coverage tomorrow.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.