Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) has won the Tour de Suisse for the third year in a row, completing his hat-trick by winning the final stage.
The world road race champion wrapped up overall victory at the summit of Saas-Fee at the end of a 20km climb. The men who crossed the line second and third – Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) also rounded out the final podium.
Costa had begun the day 1.05 behind race leader, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), but the German had no answer and toiled with the man who had begun the day second overall, Tom Dumoulin (Giant Shimano), in pursuit of the leading trio. Martin and Dumoulin finished fourth and fifth overall.
Costa said: “What a wonderful day: stage and overall classification victory. I could not have asked for a better end. No one has ever won the Tour de Suisse three times in a row. I’m proud I’m the first one to do it and I think it’s an even bigger satisfaction having done it wearing the rainbow jersey.”
The world champion pointed out that today’s double success had been his first in the rainbow stripes after six second-placed finishes. He thanked his team-mates, sponsors, and “all the Portuguese fans that supported me on Swiss roads.”
There are now no more WorldTour races before the Tour de France, which begins in Yorkshire on Saturday July 5, 2014.
Costa could barely have hoped for better preparation, and Mollema will be pleased with his performance. Martin, too, despite having missed out on overall victory, will find solace in having led the race for eight of the nine stages and having won both time trials.
More significantly, perhaps, the Tour de Suisse was another race in which Tinkoff-Saxo held the upper hand over Team Sky.
While the British team’s leaders abandoned – Bradley Wiggins after a crash on stage four, and Peter Kennaugh with a cold on stage eight, Alberto Contador’s chief lieutenant, Roman Kreuziger, registered a top 10 finish on the final general classification after finishing second on stage eight.
And with team-mate Nicolas Roche wrapping up victory at the Route du Sud today, the men in blue and yellow are in the ascendant as the biggest race of the year draws closer.
Tour de Suisse 2014: stage nine – result
1) Rui Costa (POR) – Lampre-Merida – 4.13.14
2) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Belkin +14″
3) Mathias Frank (SUI) – IAM Cycling +24″
4) Steve Morabito (SUI) – BMC Racing +47″
5) Olivier Zaugg (SUI) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
6) Feranado Cardoso (POR) – Garmin-Sharp +1.28
7) Jeremy Roy (FRA) – FDJ.fr +1.41
8) Marcel Wyss (SUI) – IAM Cycling +1.48
9) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Shimano +2.18
10) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
1) Rui Costa (POR) – Lampre-Merida – 33.08.35
2) Mathais Frank (SUI) – IAM Cycling +33″
3) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Belkin +50″
4) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +1.13
5) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Giant-Shimano +2.04
6) Steve Morabito (SUI) – BMC Racing +2.47
7) Davide Formolo (ITA) – Cannondale +3.00
8) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo +3.03
9) Janier Acevdeo (COL) – Garmin-Sharp +3.20
10) Eros Capecchi (ITA) – Movistar +3.46