PARIS (AFP) - Ecuadorian rider Richard Carapaz won stage five of the Tour de Suisse on Thursday to take the overall lead in the race at a summit finish at Leukerbad.
In a statement of intent for the Tour de France which starts in two weeks, Ineos Carapaz showed dazzling form to seize the overall leader s yellow jersey with a gutsy stage win.
The 2019 Giro d Italia winner caught Astana s Jakob Fuglsang on the final ascent and edged a two-man dash for the line.
Thanks to his stage win, Carapaz now leads the race by 26 seconds from Fuglsang.
World champion Julian Alaphilippe would have been in third at 33sec, but he was docked 20 seconds for taking on water from his team car in the final 10km, which is a safety offence.
Carapaz is being supported at the Tour de Suisse by Ineos teammates Rohan Dennis, Luke Rowe and Eddie Dunbar.
"We came here thinking about preparing for the Tour. Of course, we wanted to try and win this," said Carapaz.
"We wanted to think about the general classification of course and the possibility of winning a stage was there. I did both so I m happy."
Ineos have yet to name their final line-up for the Tour, but Carapaz as co-captain with Geraint Thomas looks likely.
Alpecin s Dutch sensation Mathieu van der Poel started the day in yellow after two stage wins so far and attacked from 155km out, only giving up the fight 30km from the line.
Frenchman Alaphilippe was unable to follow Carapaz when he made his move on the penultimate climb but crossed the finish line 37sec adrift of the winning pair.
Esteban Chaves of Bike Exchange actually led the race over that penultimate climb before missing a corner and running his bike into someone s front garden on the descent, while under pressure from the chasing Fuglsang.