Hectic Finale to Tour de Suisse Stage 3 in Bern12. June 2017, Bern (SUI) — Road Team
The Tour de Suisse headed to its capital on stage 3 with a hectic finale in Bern which saw Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) win the final sprint for the line to move into the overall lead.
For the second day in a row, a breakaway formed early on Tour de Suisse stage 3 with two riders going clear and building up an advantage which peaked at 8’17” after the opening 30km, of the 159.3km course.
With the yellow jersey on the shoulders of Stefan Küng, BMC Racing Team, led by Rohan Dennis, were setting the pace at the front of the peloton and 20km later, the gap had settled at around six minutes.
As the riders went over the top of the Ebnet climb and began the second half of the stage, the gap began to fall steadily. However with 25km to go, there was still 2’50” separating the remaining breakaway rider, Lasse Norman Hansen (AquaBlue Sport), from the rest of the field and so, the chase quickly began to heat up.
A huge increase in pace at the front of the peloton saw Hansen brought to within one minute with 15km to go before a nervous battle for position in the bunch began.
On a tricky corner with around 9km to go, Küng was able to avoid being caught up in a crash, but, with the pace being set at the front, he slipped back in the bunch.
Michael Schär moved onto the front with 7km to go and was setting a relentless pace with Daniel Oss, Greg Van Avermaet, and Damiano Caruso positioned behind him as they hit the cobbled streets of Bern for the first time.
With the peloton strung out and riders dropping off the back, Oss then took hold of the reins before pulling off on the final cobbled section with just over a kilometer to go.
It was then rider versus rider with Van Avermaet well-positioned alongside Caruso before a hectic final sprint saw Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) take the win and move into the leader's yellow jersey.
Caruso and Van Avermaet were in the mix on the kick up to the line and finished 10th and 15th respectively from the dramatically reduced bunch.
Caruso now sits fourth on the General Classification, 19 seconds behind Matthews, as the race heads to its first summit in Villars-sur-Ollon on stage 4.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I think the positioning of the team went well. Michael Schär and Daniel Oss did a really good job to put me into position on the last climb. Maybe I made too big an effort to get there on the first climb so, my legs weren’t there when I had to go and I lost a few positions. I’m not really happy but it wasn't one of my main goals and I hope to be better at the Tour de France.”
“I feel really good. I am really happy with my form, but today at the moment that I had to go, I didn’t have the power. But, it is a good test and every day is a good training opportunity and I am really happy.”
“It was a nice feeling to be wearing the leader’s jersey today. There were a lot of people out on the road which makes me really proud to wear the jersey arriving in Bern. It was a beautiful finish but really hectic and really fast. Unfortunately, on the corner with around 9km to go, I nearly went down with a few other guys and I lost a lot of positions in the bunch. It was really hard to make your way back up from there with all the corners and everybody battling to be in front. It was really hectic and unfortunately I couldn’t hang on until the end.”
“The day was nice and I really enjoyed it. I think we can now look forward to the rest of the race. The guys did an amazing job again. Rohan Dennis was really good today. He did it all on his own really and then with Michael Schär and Daniel Oss there for Greg, I think we can proud once again about how we rode as a team. It shows we are here to ride our best.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“It was calm at the beginning and Rohan Dennis worked really hard on his own for a long time. He did a really good job especially after his crash yesterday. It was just nice to see that he could ride the bike let alone ride the whole stage and be able to control the gap. We wanted to go for the sprint with Greg Van Avermaet while at the same time respecting the jersey and trying to see if Stefan Küng could keep the jersey.”
“The other teams came and really tried to close the gap which helped a lot. Greg tried, and we did a great job in the final. Michael Schär knew the roads and the approach, and he took Greg, Daniel Oss and Damiano Caruso with him and they really took control of the race. We gave it everything we had.”
“Damiano is now sitting fourth on GC, and he is riding like a leader as we expected him too. Unfortunately, Küng slipped back, but I think we are where we want to be. We have a stage win, we’ve been in the jersey, we’ve shown we have a strong team, and Caruso is right where we want him to be. So, so far it’s been a good race for us.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 3: Menziken > Bern, 159.3km
Top 3: 1. Michael Matthews (Team Subweb) 2. Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe) 3. John Degenkolb (Trek - Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 10. Damiano Caruso 15. Greg Van Avermaet 38. Tejay van Garderen