Alexander Kristoff claims stage five victory at Tour de Suisse
Last Updated: 13/06/13 4:52pm
Alexander Kristoff: Held off some big names to claim stage five
Alexander Kristoff got the better of his sprint rivals at the Tour de Suisse as stage five came down to a bunch kick.
The Norwegian (Katusha) continued his strong run of form with a comfortable victory into Leuggern as the sprint trains battled it out for the second day in a row.
Kristoff held off the winners of the previous two stages - Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the slight uphill drag to the line as the race stayed together despite a difficult finishing circuit.
BMC Racing kept the yellow jersey of Mathias Frank protected to ensure the Swiss man maintained his 23-second lead over Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) ahead of a slightly more undulating stage on Thursday.
The day always looked likely to be a battle between a break and the sprinters' teams and the pattern for the afternoon was quickly set.
Four riders - Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard), Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), Sebastien Minard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun) - headed up the road as the convoy left Buochs but were never handed much room to manoeuvre.
The presence of both Cannondale and FDJ on the front for Peter Sagan and Arnaud Demare respectively meant the quartet never gained more than three minutes on the chasing pack.
As the race headed towards the German border and the five remaining fourth category climbs, the break began the line two laps with just under two minutes on the motivated peloton.
On the undulating finishing circuit featuring passes over the Loorweg and Zurzlberg the break was finally shut down, a driving pace from Team Saxo-Tinkoff closing the final 30-second gap with 24km remaining.
In the closing stages Bernhard Eisel and Mathew Hayman of Team Sky arrived on the front to keep the momentum going before IAM Cycling took over the run-in duties in their home race. Yet when it came down to it there was no stopping Kristoff who notched his fifth win of the year.