Bevin found himself in the day’s breakaway, which was composed of 25 riders, that went clear in the opening 20 kilometers and quickly gained a two-minute advantage.
The gap to the peloton grew to four minutes in the first half of the short 120-kilometer stage, which featured the category three Wildhaus climb after 70 kilometers, before the eight-kilometer-long category one Flumserberg summit finish.
Despite an attack from the breakaway on the Wildhaus descent, the group came back and remained together until the final ten kilometers on the approach to the foot of the climb.
Tolhoek and Lluis Mas (Movistar Team) were the first to attack with seven kilometers to go and although initially distanced, Bevin clawed his way back and immediately went to the front of the trio to lead up the climb and control the pace.
The New Zealander was impressive as he tackled the category one climb, at which point the battle amongst the General Classification contenders started to play out just over one minute behind, and carried on with a good pace.
Tolhoek attacked with three kilometers to go and although Bevin was unable to match the move, he continued to ride his own rhythm to limit the time loss in the final few kilometers.
Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) attacked from behind and came around Bevin in the final kilometer while up ahead, Tolhoek hung on to take the solo win.
Bevin’s determination saw him cross the line in sixth place in what was a gutsy ride for the New Zealander against pure climbers on the first mountain stage of the race.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I pushed a bit for the breakaway early on but I didn’t expect them to let 25 riders ride away, so we definitely needed to have a rider in there because, as we saw, the race was won from the breakaway. I was good early and found myself in the move. As we hit the first town, there were a few different groups ahead and we all joined and suddenly there was a split behind and 25 riders up ahead. To me, it was a surprise that the peloton let such a big group go on a short stage with one climb and it showed when the run into the climb was so fast. One of the riders in the group was only 45 seconds or so back on the GC so you never know if the peloton will let you get too far up the road. You can only take so much time on one climb, which showed because we only had two minutes at the bottom and Tolhoek took the win.”
“I am too big so the only thing I can do on a climb like that is ride my own tempo. It’s not often you have the chance to do that but we had a two-minute head start and I have been getting better as the week goes on so I wanted to ride my own tempo until we got caught and I was very surprised that wasn’t until about a kilometer and a half to go when the guys started to fly past us going twice as fast. I hit the bottom and rode my tempo. Guys came, guys went and the only guy who really rode away was the guy who won the stage so he deserves that.
That was my play. I couldn’t do anything else on that climb. I don’t have any other cards to play. On these longer stage races, one day that may pay off if you ride your own tempo and the bunch is behind. They can’t take that much time out of you and you don’t have to respond to attacks, you just ride a time trial tempo and you go up these climbs pretty fast. I’m really happy with my form and now I really will focus on Saturday’s time trial. Today was a bonus day in the legs. It was a hard day for everyone so it was kind of nice to be in the break.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 6 Einsiedeln > Flumserberg (120km)
Top 3: 1. Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), 2. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS), 3. Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale)’
CCC Team top 3: 6. Patrick Bevin, 60. Greg Van Avermaet, 64. Michael Schär