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"Even though I have been 14 years a pro, it happens once in a great while that I don’t eat enough. I realized that I really bonked in the last four kilometers - it was a long day and I was totally sugar flat at the end."

Photo: Sirotti










17.06.2015 @ 20:02 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The queen stage five at the Tour de Suisse - the only mountain stage in the nine-day event – was a massive 237-kilometers and finished at the top of the brutal Rettenbachferner, a climb, some claim, is the hardest in all of Europe.


The 12-kilometer ascent, with an average gradient a whopping 10.7%, exacted damage in the GC as projected, leaving a massive reshuffle and large gaps in the leaderboard.


Bob Jungels was the first Trek rider over the line in 19th place, three minutes and five seconds behind winner Thibaut Pinot (, who also claimed the leader’s jersey.


“I am pretty stuffed,” said Jungels at race end. “The stage is already super long, its like a Classic distance, and then when you have a climb like this at the end with the altitude and steepness – it’s one of the hardest climbs around here.  We ended really, really fast; the teams like Katusha and Astana were very motivated. I just tried to stay as long as possible with them, I wanted to stay until the road flattened a bit at the toll station, but I didn’t realize that was after 5kms! So I was there for 2-3 kms and I just went in my own rhythm.


“I was actually happy that I could ride at my threshold the entire time. I came close at the end to guys like [Joe] Dombrowski so that was a good sign that I calculated my effort pretty well. Now I am really cooked.”


The day began with Gregory Rast joining seven others in an escape group that formed in the first 10 kilometers.  The peloton was content with the group’s makeup and the gap grew steadily, reaching well over nine minutes.


At the start of the steep final climb the gap had fallen to just under five minutes, and Rast – not a climbing specialist – was quickly distanced by his compatriots.  After leading the race for over 200 kilometers, the final 12 kilometers were a painful affair for Rast better attuned to the cobblestoned Classics.


Behind, the peloton rushed into the Rettenbachferner where the steep grades quickly sorted the climbing specialists from survivors. 


After the race Director Kim Andersen reasoned, “I think Bob did a really good job, we knew he would not be able to stay with the best climbers, but he took his rhythm and kept fighting the whole climb. He did absolutely what we can expect, and now we need to look at the GC because with a 40km chrono on the last day it’s still possible for him to make a good place.


“We are not used to seeing Fränk [Schleck] like this, but we know he has a small problem with his knee. It was a small test of his knee today and I have not spoken with him yet so we will see.  And Julian [Arredondo] for sure we expected more. He was good the whole week and we thought he would be up there with the best and fight for the win today. So that was a disappointment for sure.”


Fränk Schleck finished in 25th place at 5’08”, and Julian Arredondo in 43rd at 11’04”.


Schleck explained,“My knee – it’s okay. Not 100% maybe, but okay. Even though I have been 14 years a pro, it happens once in a great while that I don’t eat enough. I realized that I really bonked in the last four kilometers – it was a long day and I was totally sugar flat at the end.  Honestly, I have it once or twice a year, and when you realize that you are bonking you cannot see straight anymore. It’s never nice.” 


Bob Jungels dropped to 15th place in the overall classification and sits within striking distance of a top 10 finish with a long 38-kilometer time trial still to come on the final day. Jungels did extremely well to limit his losses against the stronger climbers today and hopes to even the score with a strong race against the clock Sunday.



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