Weather turned out to be a big factor on stage 3 of Tour de Suisse, in which Branislau Samoilau tried his luck in the break. The racing conditions were not an issue for Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), who earned a win, but many riders arrived at the line with time loses in GC.
Stage 3 of Tour de Suisse was 192 kilometers long and the second part of that distance was the more hilly one. Because of that the bunch sprint was only one of the scenarios considered for that day.
After yesterday’s solo move, Branislau Samoilau tried his chances again, this time by attacking early, alongside 7 other riders: Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Lars Erik Byström (Katusha), Gregory Rast (Trek Segafredo), Matthew Hayman (Orica GreenEDGE), Bruno Pires (Team Roth), Hub Duijn, Antwan Tolhoek (both Roompot – Oranje Peloton).
The breakaway established over 5-minute lead, but the peloton made sure to keep the gap at reachable level – with 45km to go it decreased to 3 minutes. 8 kilometers later, CCC Sprandi Polkowice rider got dropped on the climb and lost contact with the leading group. This was also when it started to rain heavily and pace picked up drastically in the field.
After the acceleration which caused Samoilau to fall behind, 5 riders left in the lead – Bystrom, Hayman, Tolhoek, Duijn and Dillier. Later Tolkoek was replaced by Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEDGE), who counterattacked from the pack.
The closer it was to the end, the more whittled down the group got – both the leading one and the bunch. With 10km to go Albasini and Dillier went clear and they were joined by Sagan, who decided not to wait for the mass sprint.
The trio gained 15-second gap and despite the fact, that they were in sight of the chasing group, they managed to survive in the lead, all the way to the finish. They kicked off the sprint with around 200m advantage and world champion was not going to let the win slip away. He won for the second time in a row, beating Albasini and Dillier, who spent almost all day in the escape.
In the final 20 kilometers the main field split in pieces. The riders of Polkowice-based squad were unable to stay in the group with race favorites, as the top finisher, Felix Grossschartner came in in 54th, 1:23 behind. Maciej Paterski arrived in another group, 2:23 back, and Victor de la Parte lost 3 minutes.