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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Peter Sagan sprinted to victory on the shortened, 117.3km third stage of the Tour de Suisse on Monday as Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) maintained his overall lead.
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Sagan edged out Spaniard Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) of France in the finish at Olivone.
“I’m very happy with how the stage went and the work by the entire squad,” Sagan said. “Today’s stage was difficult and on top of that it also rained.”
Dutchman Dumoulin finished with the leaders to maintain his five-second advantage over Moreno and Sagan in second and third, respectively.
Britain’s Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Pinot, who was third at last year’s Tour de France, round out the top five, separated by just 12 seconds.
Bad weather on the St-Gothard mountain saw the start of the stage moved from Brunnen to Quinto and the distance cut by more than 50km.
A three-man breakaway of Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling), Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), and Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) built up a lead of six minutes on the peloton at one point, but Sagan’s Tinkoff team and Dumoulin’s Giant outfit led the chase.
Once the trio were reeled in, a number of other riders tried to attack alone but Tinkoff chased hard to ensure Sagan reigned in the sprint.
“The tempo was high, Rafal Majka did a great job on the last hill, and he held the group together for the sprint finish,” Sagan said. “Then it was my turn to launch, and I’m happy to have won. It was also difficult because the last curve seemed to be a left one so I went left. But it was to the right so I had to change my course.”
Tuesday’s fourth stage is over 193.2km from Flims Laax Falera to Schwarzenbach and is suited to another sprint finish.