In a lunge to the line, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) beat two of the world’s top sprinters in stage 3 of Tour de Suisse Monday.
The Italian won ahead of Quick-Step’s Fernando Gaviria. World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was third in the sprint at the end of the mostly flat 182km stage to Gansingen, Switzerland.
Stefan Kung, whose BMC Racing team won the race’s opening team time trial, kept the GC lead.
“It was a very important victory, for the team, Bahrain-Merida,” said Colbrelli. “Three guys [teammates in his lead-out] — very important for me. My sprint, very very long. Long, long. I’m happy.”
Colbrelli launched his sprint early and got a good 10 bike lengths ahead before Sagan and Gaviria went after him.
The three crossed the line all leaning in on each other with the fast-moving Sagan in the middle unable to muscle through.
Slovak Sagan had won Sunday’s stage while Gaviria also came second on stage 2 and must be wondering where he can find a win.
The 182km run over rolling terrain featured a high tempo largely thanks to a three-man breakaway eventually reeled in largely by the efforts of Sagan’s team.
“In the final climb, I tried to attack on my own but I was brought back in,” said Sagan. “However, sometimes, you should also aim at making the race more interesting and providing some more excitement for the spectators. The race isn’t over, we have six more stages to try our chances.”
There were around 60 riders still in the pack as the pace accelerated into the final kilometers shortly after the escapees were reeled in.
On Tuesday, the race offers up its first day in the mountains. The 189km route has a category 2 climb at the end and a short downhill to the finish in Gstaad.