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Tour de Suisse 2015: Stage 3

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 Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage three of the Tour de Suisse.

Today's stage is short and sweet at just 117.3km because of a landslide that forced the organisers to cut 57km from the original route. 

however the stage will start with a bang because the riders face the Gotthard-Pass (2093m above sea level) right from the start. They also climb from the south side, which includes a long section of cobbles.

 

However after the early effort the stage is not too hilly, with a sprint finish expected in Olivone.

 

The riders are about to line up for the start of the stage, with the snow-covered mountains giving the race a classic Swiss look.  

 

A lot of riders have warmed-up for the stage on rollers to ensure they are ready for the aggressive start to the stage. 

 

They're off! The flag has dropped after a short neutralised sector and the riders will soon begin the 13km climb of the Gotthard Pass.

 

Sunday's second stage saw a surprise win by Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), eho jumped away from a front group inside the final kilometre. 

Read about his win and how stage one winner Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) kept the leader's jersey by clicking here.

 

An early crash has disrupted the start of the stage but the riders are now on the lower slopes of the climb. There are 151 riders left in the peloton. 

 

The cobbled section of the climb is making for a tough start to the stage but the first break has formed.

 

The two attackers are  Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) and Marco Marcato (Wanty Groupe Gobert). They have opened a gap of a minute.

 

This is the 34th time in the history of the Tour de Suisse that the riders climb the Gotthard Pass. 

It's a monster of a climb, packed with hairpins and snow on the roadside. 

 

We stand corrected. It is the 38th time the Gotthard Pass has been climbed during the Tour de Suisse. The first was back in 1934, the second year of the race.

 

To check out the stage profile for today's stage, click here.

 

Denifl and Marcato are working hard to stay away. Their lead is up to 1:30.

 

The clouds are almost touching the riders near the summit but the roads are dry.

 

The due have opened their lead to 2:30 but behind Branislau Samoilau (CCC Spandi) is chasing. 

 

Marcato and Denifi are approaching the summit of the Gotthard Pass.  

 

 The gap for Marcato and Denifl is still around three minutes as they go close to touching the sky above the Gotthard Pass. 

The breakaways have reached the summit, with Denifl leading Marcato by about 10 seconds and so taking maximum points. in the mountains classification. 

 

Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi) crossed the summit 50 seconds behind but quickly joined the two on the descent. The peloton crossed the summit 3:20 back.

 

The riders have put on capes and arm clothing for the long descent off the Gotthard Pass. The descent is close to 40km long and ends at the feed zone. 

 

Impressionnante montée pavée ce Gothard #tourdesuisse http://t.co/EmbikY7arR

@cyclingpronet Mon, 15th Jun 2015 15:06:25

Impressionnante montée pavée ce Gothard #tourdesuisse http://t.co/EmbikY7arR

@cyclingpronet Mon, 15th Jun 2015 15:06:25

The breakaway on the left and the bunch on the right in the climb of the Gotthard #tourdesuisse #TdS2015 http://t.co/diZ2XtPgjS

@cyclingpronet Mon, 15th Jun 2015 15:25:37

The Tour de Suisse is the last WorldTour race before this year'sTour de France.

To get ready for the biggest Grand Tour of the season watch this special video we've produced. Click here to watch it and subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube page.    

 

87km remaining from 117km

After an intense 30km of racing, the trio now have a lead of 4:00 on the peloton.

 

 The Tour de Suisse is in the south of Switzerland today, in the Italian speaking Ticino canton. 

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is again in the leader's yellow jersey today. The talented Dutch time trialist won the opening time trial on Saturday. With a final time trial stage and limited mountains, he could have an eye on overall victory.   

 

54km remaining from 117km

There is less than 55km to race now, with the trio up front now leading by 5:50. 

 

Behind the Giant-Apecin team is leading the chase. 

 

The break and the peloton is now in the valley and the chase is finally upping the speed in pursuit. 

 

The whole Giant-Alpecin team is riding on the front but the gap of the trio remains over 6:00. If the sprinters' teams don't join the chase soon, it could be too late for them to have a chance of winning the stage.   

 

The three breakaway riders are working smoothly together and look determined to put up a fight.  

 

The gap is still 6:20 with 43km to go. 

 

The gap has opened even more as the peloton eases to take on musettes at the feed zone.    

 

40km remaining from 117km

There is some rain in the air but the roads are dry for the stage.

 

The peloton can usually pull back a minute in ten kilometres but can also count on two late climbs to hurt the legs of the three breakaway riders. 

 

The Tinkoff-Saxo team is leading the chase now, no doubt working for Peter Sagan, who has a great chance of victory today. 

 

As a result the gap has quickly fallen to 5:25. 

 

There are four Tinkoff-Saxo riding on the front and gap is falling quickly. 

 

30km remaining from 117km

As the riders pass through Biasca, the riders begin the long valley climb up towards the finish in Olivone.

 

It will be fascinating to see which sprinters are able to stay in the peloton today.   

 

Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) has yet to show himself in this year's race, as has John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin). 

 

For now Cavendish and his Etixx teammates are sat in the peloton. Cavendish has world champion Michal Kwiatkowski alongside him.

 

25km remaining from 117km

Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) has hit the front, perhaps working for teammate, local rider and fast finisher Michael Albasini. 

 

The gap is falling fast before the break even hits the 3rd category climb in Leontica. It is down to 2:30. 

 

20km remaining from 117km

Team Sky is also riding on the front, protecting team leader Geraint Thomas. 

 

There are five trains on the front as the teams fight for position before the start of the climb.  

 

Upfront Marcato has been dropped as the climb hurts. The roads are also wet, making it a tricky, nervous finale.

 

As the peloton hits the climb, lots of riders ease up after doing their job.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo and Orica-GreenEdge are working on the front to force a selection. World champion Michal Kwiatkowski is one of many to sit up and create a gruppetto.

 

The climb is a series of hairpins separated by long straight sections of road. 

 

For now the team leaders are saving their legs but the gap to the break is down to 1:00. 

 

Marcato has already been caught by the peloton. 

 

Rafal Majka is also working for Tinkoff-Saxo teammate Peter Sagan. 

 

Sagan is tucked in the middle of the peloton.

 

Other riders are falling out of the back, including most aggressive rider  yesterday, Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge)

 

Dumoulin moves up to the front in the leader's yellow jersey.

 

59” gap with 15.3km remaining in the stage. #tourdesuisse

@Etixx_QuickStep Mon, 15th Jun 2015 16:50:29

Denifl is the first to the top of the 3 category climb and so secures the lead in the climber's competition. 

 

The chase group of 50 or so riders is lined out on the wet descent. They are just 25 seconds behind the attackers.  

 

The riders are back on the valley road and heading to the gradually climb to the finish.

 

9km remaining from 117km

Seven riders have formed a front group but the peloton is not letting them go away.

 

Albasini was in the move and accelerates again, passing the break of the day.

 

8km remaining from 117km

Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) joins Albasini but their lead is only 100 metres.

It is raining hard now, as Sagan sits on Majka's wheel at the front of the 30-rider chase group. 

 

Team Sky has 3 riders sat behind them, with the other overall contenders there too.  

 

The group is down to just 20 or so riders, with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) hanging on.  

 

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Team Sky) has lined out the group to set up teammate Sergio Henao, who jumps away and catches Albasini and Bakelants

 

6km remaining from 117km

This finale is a game of chess before the final attacks. 

 

5km remaining from 117km

Winner Anacona (Movistar) makes a move but they are quickly in pursuit behind.

 

Rafal Majka is back on the front after the climb eased a little. He is riding to keep the group together and then it will be up to Sagan to fight in the sprint finish.

 

There are only 25 riders in the front group. 

 

After taking a break at the back, Albasini goes again but seems tired.

 

3km remaining from 117km

Team Sky and Katusha are leading the chase.

 

Albasini is quickly caught and cracks, as Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling) tries his hand.

 

Steve Morabito (FDJ.fr) also surges away but the group is chasing them.

 

Majka is making a huge effort for Sagan, pulling back every attack. 

 

ten Dam makes a move but Majka goes after him too. 

 

Sagan is at the front but Matthews is also up there for he sprint.

 

1km remaining from 117km

Final kilometre!

 

Chavez attacks to try to set up Matthews.

 

But the group is on him. 

 

Sprint!

 

Sagan leads it out through the curves and wins!

 

Sagan saw that bike skills were vital in the final 300m and surged to the front and dived through the curves to open a gap and win. 

 

Sagan celebrated by raising one hand in the air. 

 

Sagan got the better of Dani Moreno (Katusha) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). 

 

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) finished just behind in fifth place and so kept the race leader's yellow jersey.

 

Superb victory by @petosagan on Stage 3 of #TdS2015! Great work by the entire squad! More to come!

@tinkoff_saxo Mon, 15th Jun 2015 17:21:32

Moreno is now second overall at 5 seconds, with Sagan third, also at 5 seconds. 

 

#tourdesuisse @tom_dumoulin 5th on stage 3!

@GiantAlpecin Mon, 15th Jun 2015 17:19:08

Sagan has often been criticised for his lack of success this season, even by team owner Oleg Tinkov, but he was impressive today. As was Majka, who controlled the attacks before Sagan took control in the final 500 metres.   

 

Teammate Alberto Contador was quick to praise Sagan for his win.

 

Enhorabuena @petosagan por la victoria.Congrats @petosagan for the victory.CHAPEAU @majkaformal !!! @tds #Suisse http://t.co/53WMaB1PlK

@albertocontador Mon, 15th Jun 2015 17:24:16

It was Sagan's fifth victory of 2015 and comes after his overall success at the Tour of California. It was his tenth stage win at the Tour de Suisse after also taking stages in each of the last four years.

 

Dumoulin pulls on the leader's jersey yet again and will defend his lead during Tuesday's fourth stage from Flims to Schwarzenbach. 

 

The 193km stage includes an early climb and then covers a tough but short climb three times in the second half of the stage.   

 

Thanks for joining us for live coverage from the Tour de Suisse.

Join us tomorrow for more live coverage of every moment of stage four.

We will have a full report, a photo gallery, news and interviews from the Tour de Suisse very soon on Cyclingnews.    

 

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