Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) claimed his first win of 2018 with victory on stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse. The Italian, who has lived in Switzerland for a number of years, capped off an exciting day’s racing by leading from the front and winning the first summit finish of this year’s race.
Ulissi edged out Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) but admitted that a top-10 position on GC was also an ambition for him and his team. UAE were hoping that three-time Tour de Suisse winner Rui Costa would lead them at the race, but he was struck with a knee injury before the start.
“Before the race, the team asked me to go for a good place on GC, so I’ll be focused until Sunday. I’ll try to defend myself in the mountains and then do a good time trial. A good GC for me would be to finish in the top 10. Winning would be difficult,” he said during his post-race press conference in Leukerbad.
Ulissi was among the leaders who hit the final climb towards the finish. A powerful attack from Mikel Landa (Movistar) looked to have secured the stage win, but a late chase and a blustery headwind ensured that the leaders brought back the Movistar man with the line in sight. Ulissi hit the front early and despite the long wind up was more than strong enough to hold off the opposition. After a Giro d’Italia spent working for Fabio Aru, this was just the performance that Ulissi needed.
“I’ve showed I’m very well physically because there was 2,500m of altitude gain in the stage and it was raced very hard all day,” he said. “I came out of Giro d’Italia very well, my condition is excellent. In the finale, I was afraid we wouldn’t bring Landa back and that we’d be racing for second place.
“The Tour de Suisse is one of the most important races in the world, so naturally for me it’s a big victory. I’ve been living in Switzerland now for nearly five years, in Lugano, so this has a special taste. I really wanted to win here and I’m really happy.”
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com