Slovak Peter Sagan (Liquigas) won stage three of the 2011 Tour de Suisse in Grindewald on Monday, with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) moving into the overall lead.
Sagan caught Cunego on the descent of the stage’s hors categorie Grosse Scheidegg climb. The two then undertook a daredevil run-in to the finish in Grindelwald, sweeping through a series of narrow hairpins along the roughly-finished road.
Tour of California points classification winner Sagan used his superior sprint to push Cunego into second place on the line, with Cunego coming away with the overall lead as consolation.
Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) followed the lead pair over the line at 21 seconds.
Tour de France contender Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) lost contact with the leaders on the final climb and continued at his own pace, losing 3-41 at the finish to Sagan and Cunego.
Cunego is now 54 seconds ahead of former race leader and stage two winner Juan Mauricio Soler (Movistar). Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) is third overall at 1-16.
Brit Chris Froome (Sky) ended his run in the overall top ten after finishing 10 minutes down on Sagan. He slipped to 30th overall at 10-55. Froome later commented on stage three via his Twitter account, saying that he’d “died a thousands deaths out there today”.
Tuesday’s stage four is the first opportunity in the 2011 Tour de Suisse for the sprinters to grab a stage win. It’s a lumpy route from Grindelwald to Huttwil featuring three minor categorised climbs, but should come together for a bunch finish. Sagan can’t be ruled out for a consecutive – and very different – win.
The UCI World Tour-level race concludes on Sunday, June 19, with a decisive 32.1km individual time trial.
Tour de Suisse 2011, stage three: Brig-Glis to Grindelwald 107.6km
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale in 3-09-47
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at same time
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 21 secs
4. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at same time
5. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 48 secs
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 1-04
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
9. Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Movistar
10. Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at same time
Overall classification after stage three
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
2. Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Movistar at 54 secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-16
4. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 1-19
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad at 1-21
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-25
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 1-32
8. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha at 1-53
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 2-00
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 2-10
Andy Schleck in the escape
Damiano Cunego launches the attack that would see him net the race lead
Peter Sagan wins the stage
Damiano Cunego in the leader’s jersey
Tour de Suisse 2011: Related links
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two: Soler leads Tour de Suisse, Froome ninth overall
Cavendish and Swift line up for Tour de Suisse