Sagan wins Tour de Suisse stage 3

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) timed his sprint to perfection to win stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, from Sarnen to Heiden, finishing ahead of Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) and Sergio Henao (Team Sky).

Overnight leader Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) remained in contention through the technical uphill finish and retained his race lead.

However, it was Sagan who had the most to celebrate - taking his ninth total win in the Tour de Suisse - after proving he had too much for Albasini and an aggressive Cadel Evans (BMC) who launched the sprint with 400 metres to go.

The Australian was forced to settle for fifth on the stage with Bauke Mollema in fourth.

The uphill finish certainly suited Sagan, who started the day sporting the red and white points jersey. He bided his time on the approach to the line, allowing Martin to take charge of proceedings with 500 meters to go, after his teammate Matteo Trentin had set a furious pace on the lower slopes of the 3-kilometre long.

Through the twisting corners Martin watched on as Cadel Evans jumped out of the saddle and moved to the front of a reduced field. The BMC leader swept through a number of corners in quick succession but it looked as though Albasini would take the stage with 100 meters remaining.

The Orica GreenEdge all-rounder – who has three stage wins to his name in the race – merely acted as a final lead-out man for Sagan, who waited until Albasini had accelerated through the final corner before launching his winning move.

For those unimpressed by Sagan's finish line celebration antics it was time to look away, with the Cannondale rider pointing to his legs as he crossed the line first.

"It was an hard stage and the finale really insidious as well as unpredictable" said Sagan. "There were many possible winners in the leading group but not many chances to play. When I saw Henao and Evans attacking, I decided to stay in the firsts positions and to wait.

"I thought the two last corners could be the key moments of the sprint if we were together. On the last one, Albasini has been the fastest taking the perfect trajectory - the only option I have was to take the external line and to open the gas on the final straight. Everything went perfect."

Dauphiné hangover

After yesterday’s thrilling finale in the Critérium du Dauphiné the Tour de Suisse had a lot to live up to. It was a morning to forget for Trek Factory Racing though. After suffering concussion in a stage 2 clash the team saw Frank Schleck abandon, while younger brother Andy faced further scrutiny of his form in the morning press.

The stage itself, featuring several categorised climbs and final drag to the finish offered up a number of potential scenarios. One of those was the chance for a successful break to forge clear.

Martin Kohler (BMC) and Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin) duly obliged and after 20 kilometres of the stage had a lead of 1:30 over the peloton.

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma QuickStep) moved his team to the front in order to monitor the leaders’ position and after 120km of racing, the gap stood at 3:55.

However the break, lacking strength in numbers and with an eager peloton happy to chase, were caught on the Wasserfluh with 70km remaining.

Controlling the peloton from so far out would drain the recourses of any team and it was little surprise when a second move containing Nino Schurter (Orica-GreenEdge), Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing), Danilo Wyss (BMC) and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) were allowed to go clear.

The German had been on the attack 24 hours previously and this mini-exercise was simply about snaffling up points in the king of the mountains competition. He retreated to the safety of the bunch once that task had been completed but fresh blood soon arrived at the front of the race with Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Belisol) and Valerio Agnoli (Astana) making contact.

Didier was dropped on the penultimate climb as the leaders fought to establish a foothold in the race but with Garmin Sharp and then FDJ actively leading the pursuit the break’s chances never looked more than hopefully, optimistic at best.

Van Der Sande had other ideas and despite the break holding just a handful of seconds, attacked with 14km to go. Agnoli led the chase but crashed on the twisting descen