Tom Dumoulin overcame an early crash on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse to sprint to fifth place and keep his overall lead for another day. Kept safe by his Giant-Alpecin team, Dumoulin's lead was trimmed to five seconds as Dani Moreno (Katusha) finished second on the stage but the Dutchman was confident he would be making a visit to podium to collect the yellow jersey for a third time in the race as he explained.
"It was a good day. The ascent of the Gotthard Pass was less difficult than expected, so was defending the jersey. Early in the stage, a small breakaway group escaped without guys that were a threat for the GC, so we gave them space," Dumoulin said. "Tinkoff-Saxo wanted a sprint, which meant that they kept the bunch together, so we were able to save energy for the days to come. The guys helped me all stage long and we didn't have to work in the finale."
"The finale was hectic with the slippery roads. We kept control over the situation and I wasn't afraid of potentially losing the jersey, as I had Warren [Barguil] with me all the time."
Dumoulin has taken on more responsibility as a GC rider in 2015 than previous seasons and explained the experience of leading a WorldTour race is accelerating the learning process.
"I continue to learn and develop as a leader as well, which feels more and more natural within the team," he added.
Looking ahead to stage 4, the 24-year-old explained the flat finish in Schwarzenbach is better suited to the characteristics of sprinters. With Peter Sagan third, five seconds in arrears, Dumoulin will be hoping teammate John Degenkolb can take the time bonuses on the line off Sagan and keep the jersey for another day.
“With the bonus seconds that are awarded at the finish line, Sagan may take the overall lead, but we will see," he said. "There will be a possible sprinting opportunity with John, if he survives the hilly sections in the finale."
The queen stage of the Tour de Suisse comes on Wednesday as the peloton ventures over the border into Austraia with a summit finish in Sölden/Rettenbachgletscher where Dumoulin will aim to limit his loses and look to take time back in the final day 38.4km time trial around Bern.
"Wednesday's stage will be a tough one for sure, but I am in good shape at the moment. If I can set my own pace, I hope to minimize the time lost. If I loose less than 1:30 minute everything is still possible in the closing time trial on Sunday," he concluded.