Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won stage three of the Tour de Suisse on Monday, with Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) moving into the overall race lead.
Defending champion Rui Costa (Movistar) came home in second on the stage, with Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) in third.
Race leader Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) was distanced on the day’s final climb to relinquish the lead to Frank. Frank now leads Kreuziger by 23 seconds overall, with Costa at 35 seconds.
The four-man move of Sagan, Frank, Kreuziger and Costa had split away from the lead group on the descent from the day’s last categorised climb with around 18 kilometres remaining after an earlier 18-rider break was mopped up on the ascent.
The quartet pressed ahead, quickly distancing the rest of the remains of the bunch that included Frank’s team-mate Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Bauke Mollema (Blanco), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Simon Spilak (Katusha), Tanel Kangert (Astana) and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp).
Mollema then attacked the chasers to try and bridge up to the four leaders in the final 10km. Sagan then upped the pace on the steep, wet descent to Meiringen, crouching low over his bars. He and Costa put a slight gap over Kreuziger and Frank into the finish. By far the stronger sprinter, Sagan eased around Costa to take the victory.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) continued a run of bad luck that saw him withdraw from last month’s Giro d’Italia with illness. He started the day in second place overall, but crashed during the stage and was taken to hospital for examination. It spells another set-back to the Canadian’s Tour de France preparations.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) was another rider to crash during the stage and lost six minutes and 45 seconds on Sagan by the finish.
Tour de Suisse 2013, stage three: Montreux to Meiringen, 203.3km
1. Peter Sagan (Slo) Cannondale in 4-46-27
2. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
4. Matthias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at same time
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 39 secs
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 46 secs
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
9. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing in 7-39-38
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 23 secs
3. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 35 secs
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 53 secs
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 57 secs
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 1-08
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1-23
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1-26
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 1-28
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 1-39
Michael Albasini, Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen in escape
Peter Sagan takes another win
Matthias Frank in the race lead