Tour de Suisse: Rui Costa wins for third year in a row after solo victory on stage nine
Last Updated: 22/06/14 6:04pm
Rui Costa launched his winning attack with 2.7km remaining
World champion Rui Costa became the first rider to win the Tour de Suisse in three successive years after climbing to a solo victory on stage nine’s summit finish in Saas-Fee.
The 27-year-old Portuguese went into the final day 1min 5sec behind leader Tony Martin but successfully overhauled his deficit as he continued his recent domination of the event.
Martin crossed the line 2min 18sec later and consequently dropped to fourth overall, with Mathias Frank rising to second place after finishing third on the day and Bauke Mollema completing the final podium after finishing second.
The victory was Costa's first of the season and first since being crowned world champion last September.
He said afterwards: "I could not have asked for a better end. No one had ever won Tour de Suisse three times in a row. I'm proud I'm the first one to do it and I think it's even a bigger satisfaction having done it wearing the rainbow jersey."
The final stage contained four categorised climbs and it was inevitable that Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), who is not at his strongest in the mountains, would come under significant pressure.
Martin falls away
His closest rivals made their move early, when Frank (IAM Cycling) attacked on the penultimate climb of the day, the category-one ascent to Eischoll, and took both Mollema (Belkin) and Costa (Lampre-Merida) with him.
Martin and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), who started the day second overall, were unable to follow and could do nothing to prevent the gap stretching out to over two minutes leading on to the final, hors-categorie climb to Saas-Fee.
Martin managed to cut the deficit to 1min 40sec, but when Frank, Costa and Mollema began attacking each other in the final 4km, the lead grew back out and Martin’s chances were effectively ended.
Frank tried and failed with a move 3.5km out, but then Costa accelerated 2.7km from the finish and could not be caught. He eventually won by 14 seconds from Mollema, while Frank followed another ten seconds later after overshooting the final corner and slipping a gear.
The result gave Costa a 33-second victory over Frank overall, while Mollema ended the race 17 seconds further back.
Stage nine result
1 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 4:13:14
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +14secs
3 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling, +24
4 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC, +47
5 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo, same time
6 Andre Cardoso (Por) Garmin-Sharp, +1:28
7 Jeremy Roy (Fra) FDJ, +1:41
8 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling, +1:48
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano, +2:18
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
1 Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, 33:08:35
2 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling, +33secs
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +50
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +1:13
5 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano, +2:04
6 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC, +2:47
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale, +3:00
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, +3:03
9 Janier Acevedo (Col) Garmin-Sharp, +3:20
10 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar, +3:46