Peter Sagan takes close third in chaotic Tour de Suisse sprint finish.
Dark clouds hung in the sky on today’s stage, and as the day progressed, the threatened rain showers came and drenched the peloton. In spite of this, the weather conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of the peloton, with the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, launching a bold attack 6km from the finish, stretching out the peloton and showing them he meant business. In the sprint finale, the Slovak rider had the power but was denied as he just couldn’t find the space on the finish line, settling for third after injecting excitement into the day’s proceedings on a wet and miserable final 10km.
Today, the race would head west, starting in Oberstammheim and finishing in Gansingen. As the race has progressed, the terrain has steadily become more ‘Swiss’ in character, with the hills of the first stages steadily being replaced by harder and harder climbs, ahead of the mountains that will populate the later stages. Today, riders would face another undulating parcours with a third category climb ridden three times, and another ridden twice over the 182km stage. While the day’s final climb would come 5km from the finish, a swift downhill section would lead to a flat finale, which raised the question of whether the sprinters would have a second chance to go for the prize before the race hit the big mountains tomorrow – if a late attack on the final climb didn’t deny them.
The Team Tactics
The final climb of the day was just 5km from the finish line, meaning a sprint finish would be more difficult to prepare for than on yesterday’s stage. The final climb had the potential to act as a launch pad for a late attack, and so the team would be keeping a close eye on the final 10km, being ready to close down any attacks, and if the conditions were right, make a move themselves. However, with the possibility of a sprint finish, the main aim would be to keep Peter Sagan safe throughout the day to ensure he was in the best position and condition to go for the win.
After two days of good weather, the riders woke up this morning to dark skies and rain forecast for later in the day. This could have a massive impact on how the day would unfold, not only because rain would increase the chance of crashes, but also because the wet weather would make racing miserable. Not letting this affect them, a break of three riders made their move early on, building up a sizeable advantage, topping out at 5:30. With the race approaching the categorised climbs of the day, the peloton upped the pace to keep the break in contact, and as always, the BORA-hansgrohe riders were instrumental in drawing them back in, with Maciej Bodnar making full use of his time trial strengths to pace the peloton, just as the first raindrops started to fall, and the break started to fall apart as they fought amongst themselves for the points on the climbs. With 6km remaining, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, went on the attack. This bold move strung out the peloton and quickly caught the break, and as the final kilometre came into view, the Slovak rider was well placed, with Daniel Oss leading him out. While he had the power, the chaotic sprint saw Peter fighting hard for position, and the top three riders crossed the line, their bikes and bodies touching, with Peter taking third on the line.
01 S.Colbrelli 4h39’51”
02 F.Gaviria +0:00
03 P.Sagan +0:00
04 M.Albasini +0:00
05 M.Cort Nielsen +0:00
From the Finish Line
"It was another nice race day today and, once again, we all gave it our all. Everybody in the squad worked hard to protect me and position me for the finale. In the final climb, I tried to attack on my own but I was brought back in. However, sometimes, you should also aim at making the race more interesting and providing some more excitement for the spectators. The race isn't over, we have six more stages to try our chances." – Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion
"We would have, certainly, liked to see Peter victorious at the finish line but you can't win every day. What is important, in my view, is that we race the best way possible and this is what the guys did today. They all did a very good job throughout the stage and Peter delivered, again, a strong sprint. It was a very close finish, which shows we are in contention in every stage. Tomorrow, we have a mountain stage but the climb isn't too tough so we will see what options we have as the stage evolves."– Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director