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Tour de Suisse 2010

Date range:
June 12-20, 2010

June 14, Stage 3: Sierre - Schwarzenburg 196.6km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

The Tour de Suisse: the last warm-up race before the Tour de France. Last year it was a showcase for Fabian Cancellara, and the Saxo Bank rider is wearing the leader's jersey again. Will he be able to hold it until the end?

  1. 13:37:03 CEST

    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Tour de Suisse. Today we will see the peloton takcle the 196.6 km from Sierre to Schwarzenburg.

  2. 13:42:50 CEST

    We have an interesting profile today. The first 70km or so are flat, if not slightly downhill, but that changes dramatically at about km 70, Then the riders shoot up the day's category one ranked climb, the Col des Mosses. Then there is a long descent and the rest of the way is quie hilly, with barely a flat metre to be seen. There is also a closing category three climb 24.6 km from the finish.

    What makes the finale fun – or something – though, is the nastly little 2 km long, and 11% gradient unranked climb which comes at both km. 32.9 and km 2.2. Shall we just say we are not expecting a mass sprint finish today?

  3. 185km remaining from 196.6km

    13:45:09 CEST

    The field is still together so far.  Martin Maaskant of Garmin-Transitions tried to jump, but he was caught again almost immediately.

  4. 175km remaining from 196.6km

    13:50:07 CEST

    Three riders have gotten away: Alexandre Pliuschin (Katusha), Jussi Veikkanen (Francaise des Jeux) and Ermano Cappeli (Footon). They have a 15 second lead at the moment.

  5. 160km remaining from 196.6km

    13:53:18 CEST

    Three riders didn't start today: Dominik Nerz of Milram, Joao Correia of Cervelo, and rather surprisingly, Peter Sagan of Liqugas. Nerz crashed near the end of the race yesterday, and we don't know about the other two, but we are checking into it.

    Meanwhile, the gap has jumped to 1:30.

  6. 13:57:46 CEST

    Where are these three in the general rankings? Veikkanen is 69th, at 2.18; Pliuschin is 76th at 2:35; and Cappeli is 109th, at 4:12 down.

  7. 167km remaining from 196.6km

    14:01:58 CEST

    Now the gap has jumped to 4:50!

  8. 14:06:05 CEST

    Just in case anyone was too caught up with the Dauphine this weekend to follow this race as well, here is our top ten going into this stage:

    1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 4:35:37
    2 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:01
    3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 0:00:03
    4 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step 0:00:10
    5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:11
    6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:12
    7 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:13
    8 Jacob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank
    9 Nicolas Jona Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:14
    10 Matthias Russ (Ger) Team Milram 0:00:15

  9. 14:11:09 CEST

    In the sprint ranking, Matthias Russ of Milram leads with seven points ahead of Joost Van Leijen (Vacansoleil, six points) and Mathias Frank (BMC, three points).

  10. 14:15:59 CEST

    What's up with Peter Sagan? The young Slovakian who had such a wonderful spring finished nearly 11 minutes down yesterday.

    Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand just talked to the team, and they told him that Sagan was tired after racing hard all season. They decided to pull him out and let him take a break before planning the second part of his season.

  11. 157km remaining from 196.6km

    14:18:28 CEST

    The gap has now ballooned to 10:05. Saxo Bank, Columbia and Euskaltel are at the head of the peloton.

  12. 14:23:59 CEST

    Mathias Frank of BMC is the King of the Mountains going into today's stage. He has 13 points and thus leads Aitor Hernandez of Euskaltel-Eusakdi (12 points) and Matthias Russ of Milram (eight points).

  13. 14:27:56 CEST

    In this race we have a sprint classification and a points classification. Our stage winner from yesterday, Heinrch Haussler (Cervelo) leads the points ranking, ahead of Pablo Urtasun Perez (Euskaltel) and Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).

  14. 14:34:31 CEST

    And let us not forget the teams ranking. There we have Liquigas ahead of Saxo Bank and Quick Step.

  15. 142km remaining from 196.6km

    14:38:09 CEST

    And now the gap has gone up to over 13 minutes. Saxo Bank is leading the chase, but it doesn't seem to be working. Of course, we still have a bit to go before the climbing starts.

  16. 14:43:45 CEST

    Laurens ten Dam of Rabobank is our only DNF so far. He crashed on yesterday's final descent and was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with two broken vertebrae, a broken wrist, a broken chin, and a severe concussion. Needless to say, that knocks him out of the Tour de France, but he is aiming for the Vuelta a Espana. You can read more about it here.

  17. 14:47:18 CEST

    Was Heinrich Haussler happy to win yesterday? What a silly question, of course he was. “For me the season really starts here. This definitely gives me confidence for the tour, my form is good now,” the Cervelo rider said.

    What was the finish like? “We were riding 30-40 guys and then a small bunch got back together ready to go but I looked around and I was the only one there so I went even harder because I didn't have anyone to help me. But I knew I was going uphill for the last 200 metres and there was some head wind so I waited and waited for the right moment - yeah it was a nice win."

    It was his first win of the season, a year that has been marked by knee injuries and personal problems.

  18. 14:50:36 CEST

    The Vuelta a Espana has announced the teams who will ride there this year?  Which big-name team(s) got left off the invite list?  Check it out here.

  19. 14:55:28 CEST

    HTC-Columbia will look to keep Tony Martin up near the front of things today, but the young German is really more after stage wins and Tour prep than GC here. “If we get into the situation where we can create a sprint finish during any stage, the team will certainly look to maximise that but Tony has shown he is able to stay with the best,” said team manager Rolf Aldag.

    “Hopefully he can remain in the front pack for the duration of the event but we won’t overdo it and with the Tour de France coming up it’s important to be competitive without taking risks in our preparation. If he remains at the top of the GC until the last stage time trial he will have his chance for a victory.”

  20. 130km remaining from 196.6km

    14:59:52 CEST

    The leading trio has now started its way up the big climb of the day, the Col des Mosses.

  21. 15:05:28 CEST

    This won't be the first look at the Col des Mosses for many riders today.  They met it last year in the Tour de France.

  22. 15:09:00 CEST

    So who are these three riders who are setting such a torrid pace? Alexandre Pliuschin is a 23-year-old Moldovan riding for the Russian team of Katusha. He turned pro in 2008 with AG2R, Pliuschin has a strong U-23 background, having won the U-23 Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2007.

  23. 120km remaining from 196.6km

    15:12:19 CEST

    Did anyone really think the gap would fall on this climb?  Wrong!  It has gone up yet again, to 14:06!

  24. 15:17:00 CEST

    Jussi Veikkanen, 29, of Finland has been with Francaise des Jeux since 2005. He has won his national road title multiple times, and got this season off to a good start by wining the second stage of the Tour Mediterraneen, and wearing the leader's jersey for three stages.

  25. 15:22:00 CEST

    The peloton is only now preparing to start its way up the climb. They must have picked u their speed, as riders are already being dropped off the back, such as Liquigas' Valerio Agnoli and Fabio Fallini of Footon.

  26. 15:26:22 CEST

    Ermanno Capelli is 25 and has been with this team – under its various names – since 2008. He was third in the U-23 Milan-San Remo in 2007. He hasn't had the best of seasons in 2010, missing the time limit on the stage 16 time trial in the Giro d'Italia last month.

  27. 15:31:24 CEST

    We have our first DNF today. David Vitoria of Footon has given up. Things haven't been going so well for him here, though. He as dead last in the opening time trial and lost over nine minutes yesterday.

  28. 109km remaining from 196.6km

    15:38:42 CEST

    Everyone is over the top of the climb now, and the three leaders have a comfy lead of 15 minutes.

  29. 15:49:54 CEST

    Everyone is heading downhill now.  We can only think of that famous saying from a TV show years ago:  "Let's be careful out there!"

  30. 15:53:01 CEST

    HTC-Columbia brought along sprinter Mark Cavendish, but he won't have a lot of opportunities here. According to Aldag, today's stage “will be tough for our sprinters so there will be a few hanging in there and fighting during this stage but it’s good conditioning for the Tour.

    “There aren’t too many stages in Switzerland that are good for our sprinters but there is a chance that tomorrow we can get Cavendish at the front. Either way it isn’t vital and will give us some good mountain experience for France.”

  31. 16:01:31 CEST

    Pliuschin was the first over the mountain, so he gets 12 points. The rest go like this:

    1 Pliuschin (KAT) 12 Points
    2 Capelli (FOT) 8
    3 Veikkanen (FDJ) 6
    4 Hernandez (EUS) 4
    5 Frank (BMC) 2

  32. 16:06:00 CEST

    And that gives us a new leader in the mountain ranking:

    1 Hernandez (EUS) 16 points
    2 Frank (BMC) 15
    3 Pliuschin (KAT) 12

  33. 90km remaining from 196.6km

    16:12:32 CEST

    Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas and Fabio Felline (Footon) have both abandoned the race.

    The gap is now 13:45.

  34. 16:17:46 CEST

    The gap has shrunk again by another 20 seconds.  Is it seriously starting to come down?  And will it come down enough to matter, or will this trio make it to the end?

  35. 16:20:00 CEST

    Matthias Russ of Milram was in yesterday's escape group and took the sprinter's jersey. “Matthias Russ rode a super race,” said DS (and former rider) Ralf Grabsch. “ Unfortunately the escapees were caught shortly before the finish. But as a reward for his hard work, Matthias will ride Monday in the sprinter's jersey.“

  36. 80km remaining from 196.6km

    16:29:54 CEST

    The gap is 12:30 now, so it is definitely coming down.  Slowly, to be sure....

  37. 16:34:59 CEST

    Saxo Bank won't hold try to hold onto Fabian Cancellara's leader's jersey at any cost. “Unfortunately, today's stage demanded us to do a lot of work and especially, Stuart (O'Grady) put in a huge effort considering the fact he has just recovered from a broken collarbone. However, we won't hold on to the jersey at any cost as there are opportunities to take it back later,” said sports director Kim Andersen after the stage.

  38. 16:41:30 CEST

    Sorry to have so little information on what's actually happening, but our messenger pigeons seem to be having trouble finding their way up to the Cyclingnews blimp.  Time to find the binocuars and lean out the window for a look.

  39. 16:47:40 CEST

    Team Sky's Simon Gerrans was eighth in yesterday's stage, and the team is also looking to Thomas Löfkvist to do well in the race. DS Marcus Ljungqvist is happy about that. “The final climb surprised a few but it was really good to see five of our guys in that front group. It was a good day for us - Simon is riding well and Thomas is looking really strong on the climbs so it's going to be interesting to see what we can do. The whole team is looking good and working well together."

  40. 62km remaining from 196.6km

    16:49:53 CEST

    Yes, the gap really is dropping.  It is now under 10 minutes, at 9:30 to be exact.

  41. 58km remaining from 196.6km

    16:55:52 CEST

    Saxo Bank leads the chase, followed by RadioShack.  With 58 km to go, the gap is down to just over seven minutes.

  42. 16:56:44 CEST

    The Katusha team car pulls up to the leaders for a quick chat.

  43. 16:58:42 CEST

    Sorry to say this but we are seeing a few raindrops. 

  44. 52km remaining from 196.6km

    17:02:29 CEST

    It's actually beginning to look as if the peloton may have a chance to catch this trio.  The gap has now fallen to six minutes.

  45. 17:04:23 CEST

    The gap is dropping every second now.

    The rain shouldn't surprise us, when we look at the sky.  Lots of layers of dark gray clouds.

  46. 50km remaining from 196.6km

    17:05:53 CEST

    50km to go, and a gap of only 5:25.

  47. 17:08:48 CEST

    Incredible how fast this gap is falling.  It is now under five minutes.  On the other hand, the peloton is really flying along now.

  48. 17:12:43 CEST

    A herd of cows gets spooked as the peloton goes by.

  49. 43km remaining from 196.6km

    17:15:26 CEST

    Cervelo moves to the head of the field, as the gap comes down to 4:10.

  50. 40km remaining from 196.6km

    17:20:09 CEST

    We will now officially declare that the escapees will be caught.  Of course, we have been known to be wrong before.

  51. 17:21:14 CEST

    Omega Pharma-Lotto moves into the lead now, sharing the work with Cervelo.  They will be looking to Phiippe Gilbert for the stage win today.

  52. 38km remaining from 196.6km

    17:23:20 CEST

    It's not that far until we come to that nasty, unnamed climb.  It starts at km 32.9, and remember, it has an 11% gradient.

  53. 37km remaining from 196.6km

    17:24:26 CEST

    Valeriy Dmitriyev of Astana attacks out of the field.

  54. 17:25:19 CEST

    He has about 15 secods on th efield, where we seem to have had a crash.  The three leaders are only 2:43 ahead of him.

  55. 17:25:58 CEST

    Brice Feillu of Vacansoleil gives chase.

  56. 17:27:35 CEST

    Feillu and Dmitriyev are together but will be caught by the field any second.

  57. 35km remaining from 196.6km

    17:28:25 CEST

    No sooner said than done.  The gap is now 2:20.

  58. 17:29:57 CEST

    We just had the first sprint of the day, with Capelli taking the honours.

  59. 17:30:48 CEST

    Only one more km until the first time up the climb....

  60. 34km remaining from 196.6km

    17:31:37 CEST

    Two minutes exactly.

  61. 17:32:14 CEST

    The leading trio is climbing now.

  62. 17:33:51 CEST

    A minute and a half now.  It won't be much longer until the leaders are caught.

  63. 17:35:01 CEST

    The lead group has exploded, as they grind their way up the climb.  Veikkanen is out of power here.

  64. 17:36:46 CEST

    Pliuschin carries on alone.

  65. 17:37:26 CEST

    And he crosses the finish line for the first time.

  66. 17:38:52 CEST

    The peloton comes over the line about 1:18 later.

  67. 17:40:13 CEST

    RadioShack is very active in the chase.

  68. 29km remaining from 196.6km

    17:41:34 CEST

    Pliuschkin continues to lead as he is on the closing circuit, with a lead of 1:32.

  69. 17:42:31 CEST

    Amets Txurruka is the next to jump out of the field.  Many follow him.

  70. 17:43:14 CEST

    The Euskaltel rider has 20 seconds now on the field.

  71. 17:44:19 CEST

    A group of about 15 is now chasing Txurruka.

  72. 17:46:10 CEST

    We are trying to figure out who is where right now.....Txurruka has a small lead over a group ahead of the long-drawn-out peloton.

  73. 17:47:12 CEST

    Txurruka is caught and the field now has them all.  We see Cancellara in his yellow jersey near the front.

  74. 25km remaining from 196.6km

    17:49:05 CEST

    Pliuschkin takes the final mountain ranking of the day.

  75. 17:49:45 CEST

    Andy Schleck leads Cancellara in the chase.

  76. 17:50:18 CEST

    Only 11 seconds now for the leader.

  77. 17:52:24 CEST

    It won't be long now until Pliuschin is caught.

  78. 17:53:27 CEST

    They sweep their way around a large hairpin curve at the moment.

  79. 17:56:33 CEST

    There is a furious chase underway, many smaller groups.

  80. 17:57:15 CEST

    Pliuschkin has been caught now,

  81. 17:58:01 CEST

    There is a group of six in the lead Andy Schleck amongst them.

  82. 17:58:54 CEST

    HTC-Columbia's Albasini jumps from the group, which has gotten larger.

  83. 17km remaining from 196.6km

    18:00:17 CEST

    The Swiss rider still has a narrow lead.

  84. 18:01:00 CEST

    He has four seconds on the yellow jersey field.

  85. 18:02:15 CEST

    The field is stretched out now as the rain starts again.

  86. 15km remaining from 196.6km

    18:03:06 CEST

    Albasini builds up his lead now, up to 10 seconds.

  87. 18:03:47 CEST

    Albasini takes the final intermediate sprint.

  88. 18:04:42 CEST

    The field is riding through a neighborhood now, with lots of barriers in the road.  Careful!

  89. 13km remaining from 196.6km

    18:06:30 CEST

    The gap drops slightly, to 10 seconds.

  90. 18:06:55 CEST

    That's it for Albasini, he is caught.

  91. 18:07:55 CEST

    A Caisse d'EPargne rider is the next to go.

  92. 18:09:25 CEST

    It is Luis Leon Sanchez.

  93. 10km remaining from 196.6km

    18:10:16 CEST

    Only four seconds for the Spaniard.

  94. 18:11:19 CEST

    And now it is up to 11 seconds.  The group is not giving serious chase, but it doesn't have to right now.

  95. 7km remaining from 196.6km

    18:13:15 CEST

    Oscar Freire has jumped from the field and gives chase. 

  96. 18:13:37 CEST

    Sky leads the yellow jersey group.

  97. 190.6km remaining from 196.6km

    18:14:19 CEST

    The group now has Sanchez in its sights.

  98. 18:15:00 CEST

    #Sanchez is now caught, and we have small group together.

  99. 18:15:26 CEST

    A Footon rider is next to go.

  100. 5km remaining from 196.6km

    18:16:00 CEST

    Giampaolo Cheula has a narrow lead.

  101. 4km remaining from 196.6km

    18:17:16 CEST

    The tempo has picked up dramatically.

  102. 18:17:38 CEST

    And we see more raindrops.

  103. 18:18:46 CEST

    All together again as they start up the closing climb.

  104. 18:19:32 CEST

    Two HTC-Columbia riders lead the way.

  105. 18:20:15 CEST

    The field breaks up on this diffcult and steep climb.

  106. 18:21:04 CEST

    About a dozen riders in a loose lead group.  Cancellara is not in this group.

  107. 18:21:47 CEST

    Fränk Schleck looks to take the lead at the 1km marker.

  108. 18:22:24 CEST

    There is a wild chase to catch Schleck.

  109. 18:23:04 CEST

    Schleck pulls it through to the end!  He wins the stage.

  110. 18:24:08 CEST

    A Caisse d'Epargne rider was second, close behind the Saxo rider, but we are not yet sure who it was.

  111. 18:24:55 CEST

    Second place goes to Rigoberto Uran of Caisse d'Epargne.

  112. 18:26:00 CEST

    We will have a new GC leader, but we are still awaiting official word.

  113. 18:26:47 CEST

    Third place today goes to Bauke Mollema of Rabobank.

  114. 18:29:51 CEST

    Fabian Cancellara crossed the finish line six seconds down, with HTC-Columbia's Tony Martin ahead of him.  So Martin takes over the GC lead.

  115. 18:31:17 CEST

    Martin leads Cancellara by one second.   Roman Kreuziger has fallen even further back, out of the top ten.

  116. 18:32:09 CEST

    That's it for us today.  Thanks for joining us and be sure to read along again tomorrow.