World road race champion Rui Costa won his third straight Tour de Suisse on Sunday after clinching the ninth and final stage in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.
The 27-year-old Portuguese made his move with 2.4km of the 156.7km mountainous stage to go. Lampre-Merida’s Costa finished 14 seconds ahead of Belkin Pro Cycling’s Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands and 24 seconds in front of Switzerland’s Mathias Frank of IAM Cycling.
“What a wonderful day — stage and overall classification victory. I could not have asked for a better end,” Costa said after winning his first event this season.
“No one had ever won Tour de Suisse three times in a row. I’m proud I’m the first one to do it,” the Portuguese rider said.
Frank was second overall, 33 seconds behind Costa, with third-placed Mollema 50 seconds off the pace in the 78th edition of the Tour de Suisse.
Costa started the day in third, 1 minute, 5 seconds behind time trial world champion Tony Martin of Germany, who had been leading since the opening stage of the race.
Martin was unable to respond when the leading group made its break with 48km to go and the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider finished in a group 2 minutes, 18 seconds behind Costa.
“I was strong enough to maybe win this year, but at the end it was difficult when cooperation within the chase group wasn’t there, and we had a team here focused on the stages and the sprints,” Martin said.
The German finished fourth overall, 1 minute, 13 seconds off the pace.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Shimano, who started the day second overall, finished in the same group as Martin to slip to fifth place overall.
ROUTE DU SUD
AFP, CASTRES, France
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche followed in the footsteps of his cycling legend father Stephen by winning the Route du Sud after the third and final stage on Sunday.
Roche’s father won the race through southern France in 1985, before going on to win the triple crown of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and world road race championship two years later.
It is the first victory for the 29-year-old Tinkoff-Saxo rider in a stage race after he took the lead by winning Saturday’s second stage.
Italy’s Adriano Malori of Movistar won Sunday’s third stage, finishing 10 seconds ahead of the peloton after the 179.4km run between Saint-Gaudens and Castres, France.
Malori resisted the peloton lead by France’s Benjamin Giraud of La Pomme Marseille 13 and compatriot Maxime Daniel of AG2R La Mondiale in the race for the line.
STER ZLM TOER
AFP, THE HAGUE, Netherlands
Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert won Sunday’s Ster ZLM Toer after the fifth and final stage.
Germany’s Andre Greipel of Lotto-Belisol won a sprint for the final stage after the 173.7km run from Gerwen to Boxtel, Netherlands, ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar of the US, who had to settle for the runner-up spot for the third time.
BMC Racing’s Gilbert, the 2012 world road race champion, took the leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday after the fourth stage into La Gileppe.
Belgian duo Tim Wellens of Lotto-Belisol and Gianni Meersman of Omega Pharma-QuickStep completed the podium.