Rui Costa defends Tour de Suisse title after time trial win
Last Updated: 16/06/13 6:37pm
Rui Costa: Second Suisse win in as many seasons
Rui Costa defended his Tour de Suisse title by winning the mountainous final time trial in Flumserberg.
The Movistar man began the day in second position, 13 seconds down on Mathias Frank (BMC Racing), but got off to a strong start on the 26.8km trek from Bad Ragaz, and after swapping his time trial bike for a traditional racer midway through the stage, the Portuguese rider powered up the final climb and clocked a time of 51 minutes and 56 seconds which saw him take the title with a 1:02 cushion over Bauke Mollema (Blanco), who had finished third on the day.
The action had taken place in sun-drenched conditions, and as predicted the stage proved a tale of two halves with a flat 16.5km run leading onto a brutal 10.3km climb with an average gradient of 9%.
That shift in gradient prompted many riders to switch their bikes, among them Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who put down a good early marker of 55:58 which was only bettered by Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard - 55:50), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha - 55:35) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE - 55:25) before a scheduled 90-minute break in proceedings which allowed the team cars to travel back to the start line.
Once the action had resumed, Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Leopard) lowered the bar even further with his time of 54:36, and Jesús Herrada (Movistar) matched that to the second before several riders went faster in quick succession.
Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ), Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Jean Christophe Peraud (AG2R) all had brief spells at the top of the standings, but Costa proved the fastest on the day and crossed the line 21sec ahead of closest rival Tanel Kangert (Astana).
Elsewhere, home favourite Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) could only manage 65th place, with overnight leader Frank finishing fifth overall after posting the 19th-fastest time of the stage.