74th Tour de Suisse - Stage 3
Frank Schleck surprises in the uphill finish - Tony Martin takes the yellow
jersey by a sole second over Fabian Cancellara
June 12 - 20, 2010
Stage 3: Sierre - Schwarzenburg 196.6 km
Saxo Bank's Frank Schleck responding to an attack by Tony Martin in the final
800 meters of the final 1.5 km climb to the finish. Schleck counter attacked off
the front of the shattered field of about 50 riders on the final 300 meters on
the final steeps tosolo to victory...
Caisse d'Epargne's Colombian Rigoberto Uran just managed to catch Frank's
wheel as he crossed the line celebrating his triumph on the stage and took
second on the stage.
The duo were followed to the line 3 seconds later by Rabobank youngster
Bauke Mollema BMC's Swiss rider Steve Morabito and Vacansoleil's Matteo
Carrara in that order claiming the top 5 spots after a fast stage fought out
under rain and wind.
HTC/Columbia's Tony Martin took the yellow jersey off Schleck's teammate
Fabian Cancellara beating the Swiss champion to the line by 4 seconds. Martin
finished in the first group at 3 seonds, wwhile Cancellara rolled in the second
group with Armstrong and the other favorites at 7 seconds now follows Martin in
the G.C. at 1 second with Thomas Lovkvist of SKY at 9 seconds.
First comments from Frank Schleck on his win... ”It was an incredibly tough
finale which in many ways reminded me of the Ardennes Classics. 300 meters from
the top of the climb, I launched the crucial attack and the last kilometer from
the top of the climb to the finish line was probably the longest I have ever
done. We are privileged to have a powerful world class line-up and we have
several candidates for the overall win in this race.”
D.S. Kim Andersen seemed pleased to lose the lead of the race for the moment...
”Fränk Schleck has been in great shape throughout the spring and now the results
really start coming. It was an amazing solo victory in a peloton loaded with
strong riders getting ready for the Tour de France and today's finale was very
similar to the one he won in Tour de Luxembourg. That Tony Martin takes the
jersey is only to our advantage as we now don't have to take responsibility for
As for Tony Martin, second last year he has no intention of letting go of the
yellow jersey anytime in the next 7 days, saying after the stage, "My
initial idea was to come to the Suisse mainly as part of my build-up for the
Tour de France. But this is a very prestigious race, I'm very proud to be in the
lead, and I've no intention of letting it go easily. The next two stages are
more for the sprinters, it's stage six on Thursday which will be the big test."
On his timing for the attack today the Martin commented, "I was feeling
really strong on the last stage and I realized the moment had come to attack.
After a while, though, I didn't feel quite as good and I decided to slow down
and wait for the others to come back to me. I made sure I didn't lose too much
time in the last kilometre, not going full gas and trying to save a bit of
strength for any late attacks."
Stage 3: Sierre - Schwarzenburg 196.6 km
The days 196 kilometer stage got underway under a warning grey sky
short three of its bike warriors: Peter Sagan (Liquigas - Doimo), Joao Correia
(Cervélo) and Dominique Nerz (Milram). The action got erupted almost immediately
while riders were jockeying for position to attack while being
escorted through the 4.7 neutral zone.
Saxo Bank kept the peloton together until a break of three; Alexander
Pliuschin (Katusha), Jussi Veikkanen (Francaise des Jeux) and Footon/Servetto's
Ermanno Capelli opened a 30 second gap with 175 kilometers to go.
Our three adventurers quickly outdistanced the peloton claiming a six minute
gap only 12 km later. By the 50 km marker the three had 13 minutes and continued
to book away from the Saxo Bank led peloton as they raced to the real difficulty
of the day the Category 1
Col de Mosses.
Our three animators impressed as they went over the summit of the Mosses
taking another 2 minutes out of their Saxo Bank chasers. Alexandre Pliuschin led
Ermano Capelli and Jussi Veikkanen over the summit with Euskaltel's Aitor
Hernandez leading the peloton through 15 minutes later. Behind the peloton
had split on the climb with 80 riders leading on the descent.
Cancellara took to the front and and took two minutes out of the leaders as
they approached Epany... with 75 km to go Capelli, Pliushcin and Veikkanen
resisted the chase well with a gap of around 11:25 as Saxo Bank upped the
pressure on the front as much to catch the escape as to widen the gap of the
riders dropped on the climb of the Mosses.
Saxo Bank continued to pound the pace on the front as the escapees tried to
hold their gap in a strong headwind; but they were losing ground to the Saxo
Bankers who closed in to 5 minutes with 50 km to go. Above the threatening skies
delivered on their promise with 40 km to go dousing the riders with buckets of
With only ten km to go to the start of the final 30 km circuit in
Schwarzenburg, our three amigos continued to resist. Footon's Capelli led
through the sprint in Heitenried followed by Francaise des Jeux's Veikkanen and
The Saxo Bank led mob followed two minutes and ten seconds later foiling an
attack by young Astana rider Valeriy Dmityev at 27 km to go.
Pliuschin launched an attack on the climb of the Kalchstätten as the peloton
closed in to 1:18. Veikkanen and Capelli were dropped and later swept up on the
the climb with 25 km to go after over 150 km at the front of the race. Alone on
the climb the Katusha rider Pliuschin persisted to hold the lead over the summit
to claim the climbers jersey from early leader Frank Mathias.
Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil), Jacob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Rabobank's Robert
Gesink followed Pliuschin over the summit followed by the peloton reduced again
to 50 riders on the climb.
Pliuschin was caught on a steep but uncategrized climb with 22 km to
go. With 15 km to go Michael Albasini attacked, his initiative was damned with
12 km to go as the peloton was caught by a group catching on the back led by
Caisse d'Epargne's Marzio Bruseghin.
Primed for the final up hill struggle of 1.5 kilometers the peloton rushed to
the finish with attack after attack driving the group forward with 2 km to go
the breaks were dominated before the final uphill piece. Martin attacked on the
bottom as riders fought for position in the final 700 meters... Shcleck
surprised on the final 300 meters rocketing out of the leadrers to get a gap and
hold it to the finish for the victory.
Tomorrow's stage from Schwarzenburg to Wettingen is an up and down affair of 192
kilometers... pegged as one for the sprinters, it may not turn out quite that
way with an uphill finish that will favor the classics riders more than the pure
sprinters so we could see another surprise winner.
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