Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) played the role of super domestique on the Tour de Suisse’s third stage, with the Luxembourger helping both Jakob Fuglsang (3rd) and brother Frank navigate the short but mountainous parcours. Schleck found himself in a group of 30 riders that got away early in the race along with teammates Jens Voigt and Fuglsang.
After Voigt had shelled himself it was Schleck, rather than Fuglsang, who set tempo on the front of the race to set up a possible win for his lesser known teammate. With Fuglsang on his wheel, Schleck upped the pace and whittled the front group down to only six riders.
"I had really good sensations in my legs on the climbs," said Schleck. "I know that my teammates are committed to giving 100 per cent to me in the Tour, and it’s nice to be in the race and do the job for the others. It gives me confidence to know I can set the tempo I want and give back to my teammates."
"Andy pulled for nearly the entire climb," said Fuglsang. "When he pulled off, 13 kilometres from the finish; my job became to mark the best riders on the general classification."
"My job was done for Jakob, and it made sense for me to drop back to help Fränk," added Schleck.
Cunego ended up passing Fuglsang, as did eventual stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), but the Dane did manage to get something from the stage, beating out Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) in the sprint for third. The time splits at the finish also allowed Fuglsang to jump up to seventh in the overall where he now sits one spot behind Fränk in sixth.
"We still have an open race and several cards to play," said Fuglsang, who made light of any time lost by the elder Schleck brother on the stage. "We’re not necessarily going for me or Fränk. It’s still open, and we plan to keep it open. We have a strong team here, and we showed that again today."
Andy Schleck meanwhile was pleased with the way the team was riding just a few weeks out from his main objective of the season, the Tour de France.
"It’s important that everyone is strong, focused and motivated here, and I believe we are," he concluded.
Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de Suisse covers 188.1 kilometers between Grindelwald and Huttwil.