Masterful sprint finish for Peter Sagan who dominates on Tour de Suisse stage 3 to claim yellow jersey
There’s no escaping the hills at the Tour de Suisse, as even the easier stages feature a significant amount of climbing. Today, while the flat finish suggested the sprinters would again have their eye on the stage, to get there they would first have to traverse 130km of undulating terrain of the 162.3km total. While there were only two categorised climbs over the course of the day – both third category – it would be the relentless climbing and descending that would be the biggest drain of energy. Clearly undaunted by the profile, a quartet boldly set off early on, becoming the day’s break and building an advantage. The moment they hit four minutes though, the peloton jumped into action to reduce this to a more manageable two minutes. It was clear the sprint teams weren’t going to let a break take a second stage in a row, but this didn’t stop the escapees pushing back and taking this lead back out to three minutes. As the kilometres passed, it was BORA-hansgrohe that took to the front to reel them back in, and by the time 40km were left, it was back down to two minutes and falling quickly, knocking another thirty seconds off this time by the 30km to go mark. At this pace, it was down to fifteen seconds with 10km remaining and it was clear the sprinters were going to take the stage. The whole of the BORA-hansgrohe team was here pushing the pace at the front – with Bodnar and Burghardt on the front and Lukas Pöstlberger and Daniel Oss keeping the Slovak National Champion, Peter Sagan, protected in the bunch. A last attempt from the break to stay out came to nothing, and with just under 6km to go, it was all back together. The bunch looked nervous as the speeds ramped up for the sprint, with Peter staying safe mid-pack. The final stretch was winding, and it was here that Peter started his sprint early, catching his rivals completely unawares. With 75m to go there was no doubting who was going to take the win, the Slovak rider dominating the sprint and finishing with clean air between him and the rest of the bunch. Adding to his record tally of Tour de Suisse wins, Peter also moved into the top spot in the GC to claim the race’s yellow jersey while also taking the lead in the points contest.
01 P. Sagan 3:39:25
02 E. Viviani +0:00
03 J. Degenkolb +0:00
From the Finish Line
"I'm happy with this stage win, my 17th at the Tour de Suisse, and the leader's yellow jersey. I'd like to thank the whole team for their brilliant work, they controlled the race and placed me in a perfect spot for the victory. It was a very fast finale and quite hectic because everybody wanted to be in the front. When we crossed the finish line for the first time, it was clear to me that in order to have a chance at winning, I had to be in the first positions of the group before the last left turn. That's what we did and I was able to attack in the final stretch to get the victory." – Peter Sagan
"Beautiful day today, everything worked as we had planned. Our goal was to aim for the win with Peter and for that we knew we had to work and pull almost from the start in order to keep everything under control. The guys put in a superb effort and Peter topped it off. With 15km to go, he had to change bikes but thanks to Maciej Bodnar's help, he made it back to the group and was later perfectly positioned for the sprint finish. It wasn't easy to control because the pace was very high all day. Still, Peter got into the final 200m in second position and took a clear victory. Good job everybody!" – Jan Valach, Sports Director