Peter Sagan climbs to victory on stage three at Tour de Suisse
Last Updated: 10/06/13 11:31pm
Peter Sagan: Showed his climbing skills once again in Switzerland
Peter Sagan showed a remarkable display of climbing to claim victory on stage three at the Tour de Suisse.
The Slovakian (Cannondale) was part of an elite group of four men who slipped away over the top of the day's main climb and used his power to hold off his rivals on the run into Meiringen.
2012 winner Rui Costa (Movistar) was the next man across the line as the general classification received a shake-up, Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) also bolstering their chances with strong finishes.
Swiss rider Frank had benefited from the hard work of team-mate Tejay Van Garderen on the Hasliberg climb to move into a 23-second lead over Kreuziger. An intense pace saw overnight yellow jersey holder Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) lose contact.
Stage two winner Bauke Mollema (Blanco Cycling) had made a late bid to bridge across to the leader but the Dutchman, still smarting from a 20-second penalty picked up for illegal feeding on Sunday, had to be satisfied with fifth place, 39 seconds back.
As the race climbed out of Montreux a strong trio headed up the road with Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) and Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) making tracks, yet with the peloton unsatisfied the three riders barely gained a minute.
A general regrouping laid the foundations for a much bigger 18-man move, this one finally gaining some traction with Astana and Movistar forced to hit the front in response.
With the gap coming down the group halved as the more motivated riders drove on, Belgian stars Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) among the nine that forged continued the approach to the Hasliberg.
Heading into the final 50km Ryder Hesjedal's bad luck continued as the Garmin-Sharp rider was forced to abandon the race following a horrific crash on wet roads. The Canadian was taken to hospital for checks which confirmed he had not suffered any lasting damage, with the team hopeful he would be able to train later this week.
As the race hit the first category Hasliberg BMC Racing and Team Saxo-Tinkoff took up the running and with 25km to go on the long drag Meyer finally began to struggle and dropped back.
As the elite climbers came to the fore Sagan looked comfortable before infiltrating the winning move en route to his 11th win of the season.