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Simon Spilak won stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie on Friday in Aigle, Switzerland. Spilak (Katusha) won a duel with Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) in the rain-soaked 180-kilometer leg from Le Bouveret.
Froome was second and world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Orica) was third in the four-climb stage marked by poor visibility and dangerously wet roads.
Overnight leader Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) lost contact with the front of the race and ceded the yellow jersey to Spilak. Froome is second, at one second. Costa is third, 1:02 behind Spilak.
Froome countered an attack from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the Cat. 1 Villars climb, dropping the Italian, and was soon joined by Spilak at the front of the race.
Nibali pursued the lead duo with Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Beñat Intxausti (Movistar). World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) soon joined the chasers, 55 seconds behind Froome and Spilak with 15km — most of it downhill — to the line.
The leaders rode gingerly through the tight, wet corners high up on the descent, but were able to push the pace low down as the tarmac dried. Froome and Spilak road onto the final, more moderate 5km into Aigle with a one-minute advantage.
Froome pulled into the uphill sprint and Spilak jumped to the left from his wheel in the final 200 meters. The Briton tried to hold off the Katusha man, but Spilak took the sprint for the win, the full time bonus, and the overall lead.
Costa led the chase group through 57 seconds later.
The Tour de Romandie continues Saturday with the penultimate fourth stage around Fribourg. The 174km circuit race includes one Cat. 3 climb in each of