Costa claims Suisse glory
Portuguese rider defends yellow jersey on final day
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 6:31pm
Final podium (l-r): Frank Schleck, Rui Costa and Levi Leipheimer
Rui Costa won the Tour de Suisse after repelling several attacks from his GC rivals on a tough final stage.
The Movistar rider came under pressure from Radioshack's Fränk Schleck, who he led by 14 seconds overnight, on the Glaubenberg, the second of the day's two hors category climbs.
Schleck went clear and crested the summit alone with an advantage of almost a minute but was caught on the descent as all of the major contenders came back together.
Further up the road the remnants of an early breakaway were left to fight it out for the stage win on the final climb to Sörenberg, Astana's Tanel Kangert taking the honours in a two-way battle to the line with Jeremy Roy of FDJ-Big Mat.
But the real excitement was still to come as Costa, with the help of team-mate Alejandro Valverde, was forced to chase an attack from Rabobank's Steven Kruijswijk.
Kruijswijk opened a gap of 30 seconds at one stage, half of what he needed, before Costa reined him back in and crossed the line safely to complete victory.
The top three in the GC remained the same as at the start of the day, Schleck in second and Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Levi Leipheimer completing the podium.