Mathias Frank Takes Yellow As Sagan Wins Stage

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MEIRINGEN, Switzerland, June 10, 2013 (AFP) – Swiss rider Mathias Frank
claimed the overall leader’s yellow jersey as Slovakian Peter Sagan took stage
three honours at the Tour of Switzerland on Monday.

The pair were part of a four-man breakaway who moved clear of a larger
12-man group on the final descent into Meiringen after a 203.3km run from
Montreux.

Cannondale’s Sagan proved too strong for his breakaway companions in the
sprint for the line, finishing ahead of last year’s overall winner Rui Da
Costa of Portugal and Czech Roman Kreuziger, with Frank fourth.

An elite group formed on the final category one Hasliberg climb as American
Tejay van Garderen pushed the pace for his BMC teammate Frank.

That burst decimated the peloton until around a dozen riders were left but
the next split happened on the descent when Italy’s 2011 Giro d’Italia winner
Michele Scarponi crashed into a grass verge, holding up those behind him.

Da Costa made an immediate dash to join the three ahead of him, but no-one
else could bridge the gap and the stage win came down to the front four.

With three of that group eyeing overall victory more than a stage success,
Sagan was never in any danger of being challenge and he won the sprint at a
canter.

It was the 23-year-old’s 50th UCI win and seventh stage victory in this
event although it left him a little surprised.

“Honestly I’m surprised to be able to take this win,” he said.

“In the morning meeting we thought that this finale was too hard to try a
move. The stage looked good when I stayed with the leaders on the final climb.

“On the descent, the group got smaller and with the other three riders I
pushed to go to the finish.

“The final sprint wasn’t so easy. I knew I was the faster rider of the
group but my legs felt tired due to the last climb. I preferred a two-up
sprint with Rui Costa to not run any risks.”

Sagan said that he was heartened that his form was starting to improve with
the Tour de France beginning at the end of the month.

“I’m really happy for this win and to have found the first positive sign of
my form.

“Every day is a useful test to prepare for the Tour de France. There is
only one target: be at the top to fight for the green jersey. If I find other
chances here I’ll be ready, but for me it’s important to see my form
improving.”

Previous leader Cameron Meyer of Australia was distanced on the final climb
and finished 1min 47sec down, not only losing the yellow jersey but dropping
out of the top 10 overall.

Kreuziger moved up to second overall at 25sec with Da Costa third a further
10sec back.

It was a terrible day for another GC contender as 2012 Giro d’Italia winner
Ryder Hesjedal of Canada crashed out of the race.

His Garmin team later revealed the 32-year-old had been taken to hospital
where he was to remain overnight as a precautionary measure.

Hesjedal, who failed to successfully defend his Giro title pulling out
prior to the 13th stage, suffered multiple bruising and bangs to his neck and
head.

“He will remain in the hands of the medical staff,” said the team in a
statement.

“Hopefully he will be in a good enough state to train again in a few days
but that will depend on how well he recovers.”

Results from the 204.9km third stage of the Tour of Switzerland from Montreux to Meiringen on Monday:

1. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) 4h46:27, 2. Rui Costa (POR/MOV) same time, 3.
Roman Kreuziger (CZE/SAX) s.t., 4. Mathias Frank (SUI/BMC) s.t., 5. Bauke
Mollema (NED/BLA) at 39sec, 6. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 46, 7. Daniel
Martin (EIR/GRM) s.t., 8. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 9. Tanel Kangert
(EST/AST) s.t., 10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA/ALM) s.t.

Selected:
11. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t., 18. Cameron Meyer (AUS/ORI) 1min 47,
50. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 6:45, 104. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) 17:08,

Overall
1. Mathias Frank (SUI/BMC) 7hr 39min 38sec, 2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/SAX) at
23sec, 3. Rui Costa (POR/MOV) 35, 4. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 53, 5.
Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 57, 6. Bauke Mollema (NED/BLA) 1min 08sec, 7. Daniel
Martin (IRL/GRM) 1:23, 8. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 1:26, 9. Jean-Christophe
Peraud (FRA/ALM) 1:28, 10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:39
Selected:
11. Cameron Meyer (AUS/ORI) 1:42, 20. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SAX) 2:44, 35.
Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 7:24, 44. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) 10:55, 48. Philippe
Gilbert (BEL/BMC) 11:19, 78. Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) 21:14, 94. Tom Boonen
(BEL/OPQ) 25:54, 97. Andreas Klöden (GER/RSH) 26:46, 126. Fabian Cancellara
(SUI/RSH) 31:21, 141. Tyler Farrar (USA/GRM) 34:03, 148. David Millar
(GBR/GRM) 34:24, 155. Stuart O’Grady (AUS/ORI) 37:12, 156. Baden Cooke
(AUS/ORI) 37:21.

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