July 2, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Peter Sagan is back!  Slovakia wins the chaotic Tour of Switzerland, Stephen Williams still leads

Peter Sagan is back! Slovakia wins the chaotic Tour of Switzerland, Stephen Williams still leads

The third stage of the Tour of Switzerland took riders over 177 kilometers and three seeded slopes from Esch to Grinchen, where Eileen van Dijk broke the women’s hourly world record a few weeks earlier. As the big names, Remco Evenepoel and co. Yesterday, I kept quiet, Stephen Williams (Bahrain-Victorious) was allowed to wear the yellow leader shirt for the second day in a row. But his lead was minimal, fifteen riders who were within ten seconds of the Briton. So it could be an interesting day for the ratings.

The riders barely hit their pedals when six riders managed to set up the day’s ride. Participants included Philip Gilbert (Loto Soudal), Joey Roscoff (Human Health) and Stefan Bessiger (EF Education-EasyPost). Quin Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), the leader in mountain classification, also signed on to collect the necessary mountain points. Gilbert actually rode yellow in Switzerland due to a gap of nearly three minutes.

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Sprinter teams mingle

Atop the first two ranked climbs, Côte au Bouvier and Bellelay, mountain leader Simmons took full loot every time. In the peloton, the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert maintained tight control, and they wanted to run with Alexandre Christophe. TotalEnergies was rocking, too, and Peter Sagan seemed to be itching. The first six fugitives saw their progress dwindle by a kilometer, for two of the fugitives the story was over.

Forty kilometers from the finish, Bessiger jumped away for the first time, and his second attempt at ten kilometers was even more successful. On the descent, he blasted away at great risk from remaining fugitives Gilbert, Roskopf and Simmons, who were captured by Peloton moments later. The totally fast guys wanted to make a quick run and use their teammates to hunt down the lone fugitive Bessigger.

Sagan can still do it

The 23-year-old Swiss saw his daring attack stranded 11km from the finish, so it all came together in a very quick final. It was inevitable to run in a group, trains were put on the rails. Andreas Liknesund, winner of the stage yesterday, did his homework for sprinter Sis Paul. The last kilometers were dangerous, with curves and poles in the middle of the road and traffic bumps. In the back of the peloton, a number of riders crashed, including Schachmann. He had to pull out all the stops to get back. For a moment there was talk of Remco Evenepoel going down, but he escaped well. His colleagues Asgreen and Van Wilder were less fortunate and there they were.

In the last kilometer, Pasqualon rolled the red carpet for Kristoff, but Peter Sagan stepped up and over it hard, as in the prime of his life. So the Slovak is not worn out yet. He led to his first win of the year, his first for his new team, TotalEnergies. Moreover, his eighteenth (!) Victory in Switzerland. Cocard finished second and Christophe third. Bidcock sprinted to a beautiful fourth. Leader Stephen Williams had a quiet day, coming in 34th and starting tomorrow for the third day in a row in the yellow jersey.

Top ten:

1. Peter Sagan at 4h’28” 38

2. Bryan Coquard +”

3. Alexander Kristof +”

4. Thomas Bidcock +”

5. Alex Aranborough +”

6. Matthew Trentin +”

7. Sis Ball +”

8. Michael Matthews”

9. Mike Tyunison +”

10. Alberto Petitol + “