Skip to main content

Live coverage

Tour de Suisse 2012: Stage 3

Welcome to our live coverage of the conlusion to stage three at the 2012 Tour de Suisse. Today's stage measures just under the 195km mark and runs from Martigny to Aarberg. Can Movistar's Rui Costa hold on to the overall lead that he snatched on yesterday's second stage?

80km remaining from 194km

We join the action with 80km left in the stage. A group of three riders have broken free of the peloton and have a considerable lead: Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R-LaMondiale), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank) and Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Belisol)

Let's just check where we stood this morning in terms of overall GC, before stage three got underway.

 

OVERALL GC AFTER STAGE 2

1 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 6:31:22
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:08
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:15
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:19
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:21
6 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
8 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
9 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:26
10 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:29

Rui Costa produced a superbly-timed challenge towards the end of yesterday's second stage to take the overall lead. Read how he achieved it right here.

70km remaining from 194km

Let's have a closer look at the three leaders as they sweep past the 70km point. Bonnafond is the youngest, at 24 years of age, and on the start line this morning he was the closest to lead of this trio in the GC, though he was way down in 110th position. Morkov is know for his track exploits and is a former world madison champion and won a silver medal in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics. Van Genechten is only a year younger than Bonnaford. He is yet to win a major race at senior level.

60km remaining from 194km

We've just picked up some live pictures from the race for the first time from the host broadcaster. Seems like the official race ticker was a few minutes behind. The leaders have just gone past the 60km point. Peloton are closing the gap down, and it's just over seven minutes now.

And it's wet out there. Very wet. Leaders are roughly 20km away from the first categorised climb, the Frienisberg.

Europe is currently going football crazy at the moment, with the European Championship Finals now in full swing. Read why Tony Martin thinks that Team Sky are the Bayern Munich of cycling right here.

Movistar seem nice and relaxed back in the peloton as the gap contuniues to come down. None of these riders up ahead are GC threats to Costa. The weather might be though. The rain is getting heavier and heavier.

50km remaining from 194km

With 50km left to go, the gap is down to 6:43.

It will be interesting to see if anyone dares to attack at this stage. Weather definitely playing its part here and everyone just looking like they want to consolidate for the moment.

There were no withdrawals this morning by the way. All 160 riders were at the start.

CADEL EVANS VIDEO: Across the border in France yesterday, Britain's Bradley Wiggins won his second consecutive Criterium Du Dauphine. The heat has now certainly gone up a notch in the UK, where people are now talking up Wiggins as the overwhelming favourite for the Tour de France. But what did Cadel Evans, last year's Tour winner, have to say about his own performance over the last week? Have a watch of this exclusive video here.

54km remaining from 194km

It looks like the chasing peloton have now been split in half due to poor timing at a railway crossing. We'll get the names and positions as soon as it becomes clear.

Gap is now up to over eight minutes after that interruption. Leading trio have enjoyed a real slice of luck there.

40km remaining from 194km

40km to go now. The gap stands at 7:11. Leaders are getting closer and closer to the first categorised climb, which is almost within sight.

BREAKING NEWS: BMC rider George Hincapie has announced his retirement. More to follow when we get it...

Liquigas and Sky have moved to the front of the peloton. The former's Peter Sagan won stage one's ITT on Saturday and has been in sensational form in recent weeks. Does he have his eyes on another prize this afternoon?

We have more on that Hincapie story that we told you about. Read the full story here.

The riders have just passed the town of Aarberg, site of the finish for the first time. Leaders still looking comfortable but the weather and the two approaching climbs might yet have a say in the outcome of this one.

Plus the last 500m of this course has plenty of twists and turns in it. If the leading trio do get swallowed up and we have a mass sprint, positioning will be crucial. The greasy road surface isn't ideal either.

29km remaining from 194km

And just as I write that, the sun comes out. Ben Swift and Sagan are right there at the front of the chasing peloton, with the gap now under five minutes with 29km left. Liquigas and Sky really pushing things along here.

Gap really is tumbling down now. Not looking good for the leading trio. They have taken almost a minute out of the gap in the last few kilometres.

Confirmation that Bonnaford won the last intermediate sprint. Leaders have now started to climb.

And the main peloton has now also started to climb, and the gap has shortened to around the three-minute mark.

Van Genchten has been dropped by Bonnafond and Morkov as the leading pair cross the summit of the Frienisberg climb.

Moreno Moser (Liquigas) attacks from the main peloton and goes off in pursuit of the leaders.

22km remaining from 194km

And the peloton is descending fast and have reeled Moser back in. They are closing up on the leading duo now and only have just over two minutes to find.

Frank Schleck and Fabian Cancellara are well placed in the peloton as we enter the last 20km. With one more climb to go, who is going to make a decisive move here?

Team Sky really pushing hard again. Ben Swift could have a shot wt winning the stage here if it can be turned into a sprint. Plus they have Thomas Löfkvist high up in the general classification.

15km remaining from 194km

Gap is 2:04 at the 15km mark. We have another climb coming up very soon...

Nordhaug (Sky) is displaying some nasty wounds from an earlier crash. He's going to finish the race though.

10km remaining from 194km

It's now looking that these two will be caught. With 10km left, the gap is under a minute...

Leaders really struggling up this final climb. Like they're riding through mud.

Moser trying to attack from the front of the peloton once again as they climb.

Gap being toally decimated here. Down to less than 30 seconds in the blink of an eye.

Leaders are in sight of the peloton now but gap hasn't come down quite as quickly over the last few km. There's a few decent sprinters waiting in the wings here. Boonen, Sagan, etc. Ben Swift and Cancellara are there too. And Farrar.

5 km to go and they are rushing downhill fast. Gap is ten seconds now

Big hairpin bend there with 3km to go. Caused a lot of excitement in the host broadcaster's commentaory box...no scrapes though.

2km to go. Sky at the front and pushing but haven't got there. Yet.

Last kilometre...

And the leaders are swept up

WINNER: Peter Sagan (Liquigas)

Sagan comes home first in a tight sprint finish

Baden Cooke in second, Ben Swift in third

Full top ten for stage and for GC when it's confirmed...

TOP TEN FINISHERS - STAGE 3

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:35:32
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
3 Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Pro Team Astana 0:00:03
5 Allan Davis (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
6 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat
7 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
9 Daniele Colli (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
10 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 3

 

1 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 11:06:57
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:08
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:15
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:19
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:21
6 Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
7 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
8 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
9 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:26
10 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:29

So another win for Sagan, who has been sweeping up victories with alarming regularity over the last few months. That's two here already, and let's not forget the five, yes five, he won at he Tour of California last month. At just 22 years old, there is surely even more to come from the Slovak.

 

That's all from our live coverage of stage 3. Join us tomorrow for stage four of the Tour de Suisse, which promises to be another fascinating and exciting day on the roads.

Latest on Cyclingnews