Tour de Suisse

Swifty sprints to third

Costa retains yellow, Sagan doubles up

Last updated: 11th June 2012

Ben Swift positioned himself well in a tough finish to place third on the line at stage three of the Tour de Suisse.

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The Brit dived into a technical final kilometre, putting him onto the wheel of Peter Sagan into the final corner of the 194-kilometre test.

In the end it was Sagan (Liquigas-Cannodale) who overhauled Baden Cooke (Orica-GreenEDGE) in the final 50 metres to take his second win of the race with Swift finishing just behind, the trio distancing a talent-packed field in a narrow run to the line.

Team Sky had been instrumental during the stage in helping to claw back a dangerous three-man break after a railway crossing had temporarily held up the peloton.

The bunch kick enabled overnight leader Rui Costa (Movistar) to maintain the yellow jersey, holding an advantage of eight seconds after three stages with Thomas Löfkvist still sitting sixth, 13 seconds further back.

Level crossing

Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank), Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R- La Mondiale) and Jonas Vangenechten (Lotto-Belisol) were the trio who headed out in the opening kilometres, the break pushing their advantage out to almost 11 minutes on the run out of Martigny.

Lars-Petter Nordhaug crashed on soaking wet roads during the stage but was able to make his way back to the peloton and was among those helping to pull hard on the front in the closing stages.

With 53km to go the peloton ground to a halt after the barriers came down in the Swiss countryside, a small group of around 20 riders making it through including race leader Costa and most of his team-mates.

After continuing at first the group were forced to slow down by the race director, the section neutralised to allow the peloton time to regain the two minutes lost.

That all played into the hands of the break, who had 7:15 at that point and saw their advantage spin out before the peloton began to chase hard, Xabier Zandio, Salvatore Puccio and Michael Barry among those to take to the front.

Van Genechten found himself dropped on the ramp up to Frienisberg, the gap behind also dropping over the penultimate climb as the sprinters’ teams got into their stride.

Heading into the finish Mathew Hayman dropped off Swift in the final kilometre, but it was left to Sagan who proved both his bike-handling skills and an impressive turn of speed at the line.

Leaving it late

After the stage Sports Director Marcus Ljungqvist talked us through a day which saw the team seize the initiative and take up the chase.

He said: “In the end it was a close one with the break. The boys did a really good job and we were glad we started as early as we did with the chase. It was Xabi and Puccio who started it off initially and then Michael and peloton just caught them at the end.

“Peter Sagan is very strong and so is Baden Cooke. It was a good result though from Swifty and it shows he is in good shape. Of course we want to win so we will try again tomorrow.”

Ljungqvist also gave an update on Nordhaug following his crash, adding: “Lars-Petter showed good fighting spirit to get up and get back on. It was good to see him pulling and finish the stage. The guys have looked over him and think he will be okay.”

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