6/18/2013 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Sagan sprints to second Tour de Suisse stage win
June 15, Stage 8: Zernez - Bad Ragaz 180.5km
Frank remains in leader's jersey
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) used his superior acceleration and sprint to win again at the Tour de Suisse after another long day in the saddle and a late finish for the peloton.
The Slovak champion made it over the late climb that caused a select group to form at the front of the race. He left it late in the sprint in Bad Ragaz before jumping past Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) to win comfortably. World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Switzerland's Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) finished third and fourth but were well beaten by Sagan.
Mathias Frank (BMC) finished safely in the front group with Sagan and so retained his overall race lead. He leads 2012 winner Rui Costa (Movistar) by 13 seconds before Sunday's decisive hilly time trial.
It was Sagan's 11th win of the season and confirmed he is on track and ready to defend his green points jersey at the Tour de France.
How it happened
The long descent from the Alps and the flat roads to the finish favoured an early break and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Robert Vrcer (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Reto Hellenstein (IAM Cycling) went clear early but were eventually caught on the late category three climb after several hours of glory. Hellenstein was last to be picked up as Orica-GreenEdge lead the chase, holding out for some late glory.
Cameron Mayer (Orica-GreenEdge) suffered a late puncture just before the climb. He managed to get a quick wheel change but was unable to get back to the leaders before the selection on the climb and lost 27 seconds, slipping to tenth overall at 2:09.
Garmin-Sharp's David Millar tried to force a split but around 30 riders stayed together over the top and then dived down the descent to contest the sprint.
Sagan was wearing the polka-dot jersey as leader of the points competition but was easy to spot as he was protected by his green-lad Cannondale teammates. They carefully kept him near or at the front and then he did the rest, rightfully thanking them with a hug after yet another win.
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Photo credit © Bettini