Australian Michael Matthews sprinted to third place on stage two of the Tour de Suisse as the breakaway held off the chasing peloton into Aesch.
The 31-year-old was left to fight for the runner-up spot as a lone rider took the spoils after another intense day of action in Switzerland.
A strong 11-rider breakaway formed early in the stage with the peloton allowing the escapees a maximum advantage of more than six minutes. As the race reached the categorised climbs, the stage looked to be in the balance, with the break still holding a healthy advantage.
Eventually the bunch began to up the pace, and the time gap began to tumble, with Team BikeExchange-Jayco biding their time as they looked to tee up Matthews for the finale. However, a late attack from Andreas Leknessund on the final climb of the day saw the stage swing back in favour of the attackers with 12km remaining.
The peloton chased hard on the flat run to the finish, but it was too little, too late with Matthews sprinting to third place from the chasing pack, 38 seconds behind the solo winner.
Michael Matthews (3rd):
“Obviously, we came here to win, but today wasn’t really a stage that we we’re 100% targeting, there’s some better stages for us here. But we had an opportunity in the final there, I managed to get over the climbs and the boys put me in a good position all day to fight over that final climb.
Then coming into the sprint, we just fell short of one rider solo, but after yesterday, today was much better and for the team going into the next stages it looks really good.”
Mat Hayman (Sport Director):
“It was a tricky stage and a very strong breakaway, a GC breakaway in many ways, went clear and it was a bit of a stand-off between GC teams. The gap went out to over six minutes, and we hung back for a bit.
But hats off to the winner today, he didn’t steal it at all. The bunch didn’t get any closer on the final climb, and he won fair and square. Matthews showed some good form after yesterday to bounce back today, and tomorrow we have another real chance.”
2022 Tour de Suisse Stage 2 – Results:
1. Andreas Leknessund 4:46:22
2. Alberto Bettiol +0:38
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) ST
Photo: Getty Sport