Albasini second as ORICA-GreenEDGE animate stage three of the Tour de Suisse

Mon 13 Jun 2016

Former Tour de Suisse stage winner Michael Albasini had a fantastic ride today to finish second on a wet, action packed stage three of the WorldTour Race. 

ORICA-GreenEDGE executed top tactics and teamwork again today with Paris-Roubaix winner Mat Hayman in the early breakaway.

Albasini found himself away with one other rider in the closing kilometres, but keen to spoilt the party for the local Swiss rider was world champion Peter Sagan who jumped across to the duo and went on to claim the stage victory. 

Sport director Neil Stephens was overjoyed with the team attitude, animating the race and setting up Albasini in the final.

"Today we had a few different options for the stage," Said Stephens. "We really wanted to make the race hard towards the final."

"We had a plan to attack with Albasini in the final and if that didn't come off, then we could try the bunch kick with either Magnus Cort or Michael Matthews.

"As it turned out we had Mat Hayman in the early break, we weren't sure if that was going to stay away so we also tried with Amets Txurruka.

"So all in all a great collective plan. We had a few options there in the final with Albasini out front and then Matthews ready behind. Unfortunately we were there with the best rider in the world, Sagan. There's no shame in running second to him.

"The team got this result today through some great communication and great collaborative riding between the boys."

How it happened: 

197kilometres awaited the riders for stage three of the Tour de Suisse, an undulating stage consisting of 2,124metres of climbing.

Within the first 20kilometres of the race Silvian Dillier (BMC Racing Team) attacked, gaining a small advantage over the peloton, before a further seven riders jumped across including Hayman for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

Heavy rain showers came making for a long, challenging day in the saddle. The eight breakaway riders worked well together in the harsh conditions to ride out to over a four-minute advantage.

The peloton behind controlled their advantage and once the leaders enter the final two finishing circuits the gap was down to three minutes again.

The finishing laps included a hard climb and Txurruka made a solo attempt to ride across to the breakaway to join his teammate heading into the final.

His strong attack sent him one minutes ahead of the peloton, but as the chase picked up behind he was soon swallowed up again. 

The eight escapees quickly turned to five over the difficult terrain and ORICA-GreenEDGE rider Albasini was next to make his move with less than twenty kilometres remaining.

The local Swiss rider showed his class rapidly gaining on the leaders, and finally bridging across to selfless Hayman who immediately took up position at the front.

The peloton behind continued to close in on the five leaders as Albasini, using his tactical experience, attacked once more taking with him the breakaway instigator Dillier. 

The duo had a good lead but the man to spoil the party today was world champion Sagan, who launched an incredible attack away from the peloton over the top of the final climb to the duo. 

Matthews turned himself inside out in an attempt to get even with Sagan but in the blink of an eye the world champion had joined the two leaders and the new trio hovered just 15seconds ahead.

In the action packed stage, it looked as if the trio would be reeled in and a reduce bunch sprint would conclude the stage, however the hardworking leaders were able to stay away crossing the line just three seconds ahead of the bunch.

Albasini took on the sprint leading it out with 250metres to go yet Sagan's sprint proved too powerful again and he came past in the final metres to claim another victory at the Tour de Suisse.

Albasini finished the stage in second place with Matthews coming in seventh.

All round today was a fantastic display of teamwork for the ORICA-GreenEDGE squad. Having finished on the podium now in all three stages so far, the Australian outfit are more motivated to reach that final top step with six stages remaining.

Tour de Suisse stage 3 results:

1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 4:31:17
2. Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST
3. Silvian Dillier (BMC Racing Team) ST

General Classification after stage 3:

1. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 9:14:13
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) +0:03
3. Silvian Dillier (BMC Racing Team) +0:03