UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff sprinted to third place on Saturday’s eighth stage of the Tour de Suisse.
Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) won the group sprint ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Kristoff, while world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) placed fourth.
Kristoff, who won at Eschborn-Frankfurt and GP du canton d’Argovie earlier this season, secured his first top-five finish of the week after finishing 10th on first stage in Frauenfeld.
The 30-year-old said: “I’m a little upset. (Oliviero) Troia and (Roberto) Ferrari worked well to bring me into the best position.
“In the final metres, he set me up on the wheel of Demare, but when the Frenchman began his sprint, I could not accelerate like I wanted to.”
Richie Porte (BMC Racing) remains at the top of the overall classification ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) sits in 12th thanks to his consistent work and stage win on Wednesday.
Today’s final stage is a 34.1km time-trial around Bellinzona.
Diego Ulissi took control of the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse, winning on the uphill in Leukerbad. From 300 metres out, he charged and won for the 30th time in his career.
Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) placed second and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) third. Ulissi (photo Bettini) moved up the overall, sitting now in eighth at 40 seconds from the new race leader Richie Porte (BMC Racing).
“Today’s win carries much weight, the Tour de Suisse is a prestigious race and it makes me proud to win here” Ulissi said. “I was able to come out of the Giro d’Italia with good condition, I remained concentrated knowing that in Switzerland I’d have stages suited to my characteristics. The stage today was one of those, and I pulled it off.
“I’m going to try to keep fighting all the way through the end of the Tour de Suisse given that on the climbs I feel good and in the time trial I can defend myself.”
Elsewhere, on a superb day for Team Emirates, Simone Consonni sprinted perfectly to earn his first professional win.
The 23-year-old Italian sprinter took charge of the first stage of the Tour of Slovenia, from Lendava to Murska Sabota, 159 km. He avoided two crashes in the last kilometre and topped Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) on the line.
Thursday’s stage throws up the chance for the climbers in the field to make up some valuable time as the 186km ride features two feared climbs, to the top of Furka and Klausen.
UAE Team Emirates’ Yousif Mirza will be hoping to cap off the Holy month of Ramadan with a positive result as he joins teammates at the Tour of Slovenia, which gets underway in Lendava on Wednesday.
Mirza, who was recently recognised by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the UAE’s outstanding sportsmen of the year, will be looking to add to his medal haul and help continue the team’s rich vein of form following recent wins at the Criterium du Dauphine and the GP du Canton d’Argovie.
The 29-year-old completed a hat-trick of medal wins after capturing the continental title in the points race at the Asian Track Cycling Championships in Malaysia in March, as well as the Asian Road Cycling Championship and the Omnium Track Cycling silver medal earlier this year.
Joining the UAE National Champion in Slovenia will be teammates Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni, Kristijan Durasek, Vegard Stake Laengen, Przemyslaw Niemic and Alexandr Riabushenko.
Commenting on the upcoming race, the Khor Fakkan native said: “I’m happy to be racing in Europe; it’s been a few weeks since my last race at the Tour of California so I hope I can be useful to the team.
“The Tour of Slovenia is an interesting competition and our line-up is well balanced so we can aim for good results.”
Sporting Director Bruno Vicino added: “The Tour of Slovenia has undergone some renovations compared to past editions. We will have to be ready to compete on each individual stage, day by day.
“We will be counting on fast riders like Consonni, who could get a couple of chances, whilst Durasek will be aiming to stand out in some of the more challenging stages.
“The rest of the team will be looking to take advantage of any interesting opportunities, especially in the breakaway.”
The 2.1 ranked UCI European Tour race will see riders tackle five stages, spanning a total of 664km.
Wednesday’s opening stage takes riders through the eastern region of Slovenia and is open for the sprinters with just one category four climb featuring at 56km.