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Saturday 27 February 2021

Time trial sees Roche slip from contention

The AG2R leader requires a strong performance in the mountains if he’s to achieve his goal of a top-10 finish in the Tour de Suisse.

Image: PA Wire/PA Archive/Press Association Images

FORMER IRISH NATIONAL champion Nicolas Roche will begin the eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse in fifteenth place after a determined performance in Friday’s 39km individual time trial failed to arrest his slide down the overall standings.

Competing in what has traditionally proven his weakest discipline, the 27-year-old began the day expectant of a disimprovement in his overall position, but will nonetheless feel aggrieved to have sacrificed his place at the business end of the general classification.

The 44th fastest rider on the day, the AG2R principal’s time of 48’48″22 was 1’32″ slower than that of race leader Rui Da Costa (Movistar). Comparatively untroubled at the head of proceedings, the Portuguese enjoys a 50″ and 55″ advantage over Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank), respectively.

General classification intrigue aside, the day marked a return to form for home favourite Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan). The Swiss, a four-time World Time-Trial champion, negotiated the Gosau circuit in 46’38″57, a mere two seconds slower than surprise stage victor Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana).

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