The Tour de Suisse peloton is negotiating the neutralised zone in Oberstammheim, ahead of today's 182km leg to Gansingen. Stage 3 has a decidedly rugged finishing circuit, and should provide a chance for the puncheurs to deny the pure fast men. Of course, some of the quickest men in this field, like Michael Matthews and yesterday's winner Peter Sagan, will certainly fancy their chances of surviving the climbs in the finale.
Stefan Kung (BMC) begins the day in the yellow jersey. The Swiss talent was the main driver of BMC's winning effort in the opening team time trial. The general classification picture is as follows ahead of stage 3:
1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 4:10:24
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:20
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:23
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28
10 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:30
11 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
12 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
13 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
14 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
15 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:32
16 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott
17 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:00:33
18 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:36
19 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
20 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
182km remaining from 182km
The flag drops and stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse is underway beneath grey skies, though temperatures are pleasantly in the low twenties.
Almost immediately, a group of five riders slips off the front. Diego Rosa (Team Sky) is among their number, however, and this move has been deemed too dangerous. They are pegged back almost as quickly as they went clear.
177km remaining from 182km
Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sort) and Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) have attacked and opened a lead of 20 seconds over the main peloton.
175km remaining from 182km
Zaccanti and Watson were already on the attack yesterday, spending 120km off the front, and they might be settling in for another lengthy raid here. 40 seconds the gap.
171km remaining from 182km
Rain is now falling steadily over the Tour de Suisse peloton. Meanwhile, our leading trio are stretching out their advantage, which has now reached 2:20.
166km remaining from 182km
BMC seem content to allow this trio of escapees some early leeway. Their lead is now 4:05. Grellier is the best-placed on GC, some 5:09 down on Kung.
There are five category 3 climbs on today's route, all in the final 70km of the stage. First up is Hagenfirsterstrasse after 117km, followed by the Bürersteig after 126km. The race tackles the Hagenfirsterstrasse-Bürersteig combination once again with 35km and 26km to go, respectively. The peloton will then scale Hagenfirsterstrasse for a third time with 5.5km remaining.
As ever, the stage profile provided by the race organisation makes each ascent look as daunting as the north face of the Eiger. The hills are not quite that steep, but there is plenty of climbing on the agenda this afternoon. The steady rain, meanwhile, only adds to the difficulty of the stage.
156km remaining from 182km
Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport) and Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) now have a lead of 4:28 over the peloton, which is being led by the BMC team of race leader Stefan Kung.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed his 16th stage win at the Tour de Suisse yesterday. The world champion has claimed at least one stage win in every edition of the race since 2011. He also rode the event as a neo-professional in 2010, but was a non-starter on stage 3 on that occasion. "Every victory is special, it is already special as it is the first stage at Tour de Suisse and now we can focus on the race in a different way, it's good for the team but more important things are coming," Sagan said afterwards. Read the full story here.
152km remaining from 182km
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) had to settle for 4th in yesterday's breathless finale. For me personally, I was dead from the TTT. I came straight from altitude so I was missing some of that top-end speed but for the first road stage, to get over that sort of course, and still have a sprint, that’s a good start to the week,” Matthews told Cyclingnews after the stage. Read the full story here.
148km remaining from 182km
Rain continues to fall over the Tour de Suisse. The BMC-led peloton has sliced the break's lead back by 20 seconds or so, and it now stands at 4:10.
143km remaining from 182km
The escapees have continued the stage's opening loop and passed back through the start line in Oberstammheim. Their lead over the peloton stands at 4:05.
138km remaining from 182km
The break covered 42.5km in the first hour of racing. Their lead over the peloton is back out to 4:28.
Away from the Tour de Suisse, Pete Kennaugh's abandon on the penultimate day of the Dauphine has put paid to his hopes of riding the Tour de France. After a truncated spring, the Manxman got back into action at the Tour de Romandie, but has accepted that the Tour has come a little too soon for him. Patrick Fletcher has more here.
129km remaining from 182km
The break's lead has suddenly leapt out to 6 minutes, as BMC seek help from teams with designs on winning the day's stage. Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team take the cue, and begin to put their shoulders to the wheel at the head of the bunch.
Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashes in the main peloton but seemingly without consequence. The Austrian quickly remounts and rejoins the bunch.
123km remaining from 182km
The injection of speed from Bora-Hansgrohe, meanwhile, has seen the break's lead diminish slightly to 5:30.
Bora-Hansgrohe's chasing is having the desired effect on the break's buffer, which is being steadily pared back to more manageable proportions. 4:22 is the current gap.
116km remaining from 182km
While BMC Racing Team carry the leader's jersey at this Tour de Suisse, it is still uncertain whether the team will carry on into 2019. Dan Benson has more on the lie of the land here amid speculation over the destination of some of the squad's current stars.
With the Tour de France delayed by a week this year due to the World Cup, the Tour de Suisse has attracted more Grande Boucle contenders than normal. That said, the Dauphine still retained its feel as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France, with Romain Bardet among those to shine en route to third overall. "I felt that I built through the race and had that crescendo, even if I wasn't at all at 100 per cent. Little by little it started to go better with each effort and it's a good base for the work I'll now need to do in the lead-up to the Tour de France," Bardet said. Patrick Fletcher has the full story here.
106km remaining from 182km
Incidentally, only once in the 21st century has a rider carried the yellow jersey to Paris after competing at the Tour de Suisse - Lance Armstrong in 2001. Armstrong, of course, was stripped of his Tour wins in 2012. Andy Schleck rode the 2010 Tour de Suisse and was later awarded 2010 Tour de France victory, but Alberto Contador wore yelllow into Paris on that occasion before being stripped of the win for his positive test for clenbuterol.
101km remaining from 182km
Rain is still general over the Tour de Suisse. Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport) and Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) hold a lead of 3:40 over the peloton.
The latest instalment of the Cyclingnews podcast features a guest appearance from Tom Southam. The Penzance polymath is directeur sportif at EF-Drapac and writer of the excellent Domestique with Charly Wegelius. You can listen to the episode here.
90km remaining from 182km
The break is a little over 20 kilometres from the day's first categorised climb. The gap to the peloton is four minutes.
Mikel Landa (Movistar) is in Switzerland to prepare for the Tour de France, where he will line up alongside Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde in a team of galacticos. "I’m in good condition. It’s been a long time in between races for me but I feel strong and I’ll see how things go day-by-day. I’m not too much worried about the time lost in the TTT. We lost some seconds to BMC but they’re the best at the team time trials. We were happy with our ride," Landa said before the start. "We’re getting to know each other, and doing some races in order to learn to work together. At this race Nairo and I are both leaders but Andrey Amador is also looking good. We’re also thinking a lot about July."
82km remaining from 182km
The pace is beginning to increase in the peloton as we head towards the first of the day's climbs and the punchy second act to this stage. The break's lead falls to 3:10.
Richie Porte (BMC) had this to say before the start of today's stage: "The Tour de Suisse is an important race. I don’t think anyone here is at the top of their form but there are a lot of motivated guys here."
The three escapees are sticking gamely to their task on an increasingly grim afternoon, but their advantage has dropped inside three minutes for the first time.
69km remaining from 182km
BMC, Bora-Hansgrohe and Movistar all have riders posted towards the head of the peloton, but there is no particular urgency in their pursuit just yet. 2:56 the gap.
67km remaining from 182km
The sun has now poked its way through the clouds and the rain has abated. Grellier, Watson and Zaccanti are on the day's first ascent, Hagenfirsterstrasse.
The climb is 2.1km at an average gradient of 6.7%. Watson sets a steady tempo on the front, with Zaccanti and Grellier sitting comfortably on his wheel.
Grellier accelerates near the summit of the climb and Zaccanti follows. Watson, meanwhile, shakes his head and sits into the saddle.
65km remaining from 182km
Grellier leads Zaccanti over the summit. Watson trails by around 15 seconds. The peloton is at 2:55.
Grellier and Zaccanti debate whether they should wait for Watson, who was forced to chase alone at the base of the descent off the Hagenfirsterstrasse.
62km remaining from 182km
The leading group is back up to three riders as Watson catches Zaccanti and Grellier. The Australian will be rather less inclined to do the pace-making on the next ascent...
60km remaining from 182km
The break crosses the finish line in Gansingen for the first time with a lead of 3:13 over the peloton. They have two laps of the finishing circuit to go, and four more climbs.
57km remaining from 182km
There's something of a calm before the storm in the peloton. BMC are happy with the current deficit, and none of the finisseurs' teams are keen to take up the pace just yet. The break's lead extends accordingly to 3:28.
Meanawhile, Grellier accelerates again on the day's second climb, the Bürersteig. The Frenchman claims the points at the summit, just ahead of Zaccanti. Watson follows at a distance.
Watson catches back up to Grellier and Zaccanti, and our leading trio is restored. Their buffer over the bunch stands at 3:13.
50km remaining from 182km
Into the final 50km for the three escapees, who come through the first intermediate sprint in Remigen still with a lead in excess of three minutes over the peloton.
Bora-Hansgrohe have decided to up the ante in the main peloton. The rippling roads on this finale seem ideally suited to Sagan's skillset.
46km remaining from 182km
Maciej Bodnar piles on the pressure on Sagan's behalf at the head of the peloton, and the break's lead drops back inside three minutes.
44km remaining from 182km
Stefan Kung drops back to the BMC team car to deposit a race cape and pick up a bidon ahead of the finale. 2:43 the gap to the break.
40km remaining from 182km
Watson, Grellier and Zaccanti continue to collaborate at the head of the race, but the bunch is beginning to whittle down their advantage thanks to Bodnar's cameo. Their margin is down to 2:20.
38km remaining from 182km
The break's lead drops inside of two minutes as Bora-Hansgrohe continue to wind things up in the bunch on the approach the second of three ascents of Hagenfirsterstrasse.
Leaden drops of rain begin to fall once again as the escapees tackle Hagenfirsterstrasse for the second time with a lead of 1:15 over the bunch.
Christopher Juul Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) attacks from the peloton on the Hagenfirsterstrasse and sets out in lone pursuit of the leaders.
35km remaining from 182km
Grellier leads Zaccanti over the top of the Hagenfirsterstrasse. Watson is third to the summit, a handful of seconds down. The lone chaser Juul-Jensen reaches the same point 50 seconds back. The bunch is at 1:20.
31km remaining from 182km
Zaccanti and Grellier can't afford to wait for Watson this time. They press on as they reach the descent of the Hagenfirsterstrasse, with a lead of 38 seconds on Juul-Jensen and 1:43 on the peloton.
Juul-Jensen has caught Watson, and this duo is 36 seconds down on the two leaders.
30km remaining from 182km
Grellier and Zaccanti take the bell in Gansingen with a lead of 23 seconds on Juul-Jensen and Watson, and 1:30 on the peloton.
28km remaining from 182km
Juul-Jensen and Watson are almost upon Grellier and Zaccanti. No one team is willing to commit in the bunch just yet, and the gap is at 1:30.
Watson can go no further. The Australian sits up and allows Juul-Jensen to carry on in lone pursuit of Zaccanti and Grellier.
26km remaining from 182km
This has been an impressive lone effort from Juul-Jensen, who closes to within touching distance of the two leaders at the top of the Bürersteig, where Grellier accelerates to claim the mountains points. Dimension Data lead the peloton, which is 1:04 down on the front of the race.
23km remaining from 182km
The pace has augmented considerably in the peloton, which is again being led by BMC. They are 43 seconds down on the leading trio of Juul-Jensen, Zaccanti and Grellier.
20km remaining from 182km
Zaccanti leads the break through the second intermediate sprint with a lead of 40 seconds over the bunch. Rain has been falling heavily again for the past 10km or so, and conditions will be treacherous on the run-in.
19km remaining from 182km
BMC's work is threefold here. They can help to keep Stefan Kung in the yellow jersey, they can keep Richie Porte out of trouble, and they can help set up Greg Van Avermaet for this punchy finale.
17km remaining from 182km
Peter Sagan sits in 20th wheel or so in the main peloton, with Van Avermaet tucked in ahead of him.
15km remaining from 182km
Swiss champion Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) moves up towards the head of the peloton. Sagan come towards the front on the right-hand side, tucked on the wheel of Marcus Burghardt.
14km remaining from 182km
Alessandro De Marchi rides on the front for BMC with Van Avermaet and Kung on his wheel. The gap to the break is down to 30 seconds.
In his final WorldTour race, Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) is tucked in towards the rear of the bunch.
11km remaining from 182km
The escapees have 21 seconds in hand as a delegation from Quick-Step Floors move towards the front of the peloton.
10km remaining from 182km
Katusha-Alpecin and UAE-Team Emirates are also well represented at the head of the peloton on the rain-soaked approach to the final ascent of Hagenfirsterstrasse.
9km remaining from 182km
Juul-Jensen, Grellier and Zaccanti's adventure is almost at an end. The bunch is about to make the catch.
The break has been caught. Quick-Step, Katusha and Astana lead the bunch on the run-in to Hagenfirsterstrasse. There are 5.5km from the summit to the finish.
7km remaining from 182km
Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) attacks at the base of the Hagenfirsterstrasse and opens a small gap.
Astana's chasing brings Goncalves to heel after 500 metres or so of climbing.
A number of riders are being jettisoned out the back on this ascent, including Cunego and Simon Gerrans (BMC).
6km remaining from 182km
Omar Fraile (Astana) sets the pace on the front of this reduced peloton, and the speed is too high for anybody to attack.
Stefan Kung is still in this peloton of 60 or so riders.
5km remaining from 182km
Peter Sagan accelerates off the front of the peloton. Michael Matthews and Sam Oomen follow... Nairo Quintana is also well placed.
Sagan relents after stretching out the front of the peloton. Richie Porte and Enrico Gasparotto were also wise to the danger when Sagan upped the pace.
5km remaining from 182km
Oomen leads the reduced bunch over the top of the climb in support of Matthews. Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) is losing contact at the back, but he might just stay within touching distance for the descent...
The race is strung out into a long line on this sinuous descent, where Wilco Kelderman is also well placed for Sunweb.
Most of the GC leaders seem to be here towards the head of the bunch, as well as a smattering of the names we expect to see in the hunt for stage honours - Sagan, Gaviria and Matthews...
3km remaining from 182km
Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) was prominent on the climb, and the Dane has now attacked alone at the base of the descent. He opens a small lead over the peloton before he is pegged back.
2km remaining from 182km
Arthur Vichot (Groupama-FDJ) is the next rider to try to go clear, but his move is marked by Bahrain-Merida.
1km remaining from 182km
Michael Albasini (MItchelton-Scott) and Michael Matthews are lined up on Sagan's wheel, about 12 positions from the front.
1km remaining from 182km
Bahrain-Merida lead the reduced peloton into the final kilometre...
Vichot attacks again and opens a small gap. Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe) grits his teeth and chases for Sagan.
Sonny Colbrelli opens his sprint from distance...
Sagan and Gaviria battle to get on terms...
Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) wins stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse.
Sagan was closing at a rate of knots, but as he tried to squeeze his way in between Gaviria and Colbrelli, he simply wasn't able to find a way through.
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) took second ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Colbrelli opend his sprint with 300 metres remaining. Albasini was on his wheel but couldn't summon the strength to come around. Sagan initially dived for Albasini's wheel, but changed horses midway through the sprint and followed Gaviria. By the time he tried to come off the Colombian's wheel, however, Colbrelli had veered into the centre, and there was no room for manoeuvre.
Stefan Kung (BMC) finished safely in the front group and will retain the yellow jersey.
1 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 04:39:51
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
5 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
General classification after stage 3:
1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 08:50:15
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:20
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:23
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:30
10 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) speaks: "It’s a beautiful victory today. I beat riders like Sagan and Gaviria by anticipating them in the sprint. Yesterday was not a great day for me, and I wanted to bounce back. I was able to that thanks to the help of my team. I went from a long way out in the sprint, a long, long way out. That worked well for me in Paris-Nice last year and it’s worked again here."
Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Tour de Suisse today. We'll be back with more on Cyclingnews tomorrow, but in the meantime you can find a full report, results and pictures of stage 3 here.
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