Sagan’s Swiss Sprint crown; Gilbert’s third Ster ZLM Toer title

Date posted: 23/06/2014

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Cannondale’s Peter Sagan, aboard his fi’zi:k saddle, dominated the Tour of Switzerland sprint classification competition that concluded yesterday in Saas-Fee. The 24-year-old Slovakian recorded 88 points – nearly double the next man, Bauke Mollema of Belkin (who also took second in the General Classification). Lampre-Merida’s Rui Costa came third, but went two places better in the GC to win his first race in the world champion’s rainbow jersey.

Sagan was impressive throughout, and once again rides into the Tour de France (which starts on Saturday 5 July) as clear favorite for the sprint title. In the opening six of nine stages, before the race hit the mountains and the second individual time trial of the race, Sagan finished sixth (time trial), fourth, first, third, second and fifth.

That remarkable consistency peaked on stage three with a magnificent victory in the 203km stage from Sarnen to Heiden. With 400m to go, a determined Cadel Evans (BMC Racing and fi’zi:k saddles) launched for the win. The uphill finish checked some of the Australian’s momentum as Orica GreenEdge’s Michael Albasini stormed past… but merely acted as Sagan’s lead-out man, the Slovakian pointing at his thighs in gratitude for eliciting a stage-winning power output.

It was Sagan’s ninth stage win at the Tour of Switzerland, and sends a clear warning to his rivals that it’ll be hard to stop him claiming his hat-trick of Tour de France sprint titles.

Elsewhere on a busy weekend of racing, BMC Racing’s Philippe Gilbert (who rides fi’zi:k saddles) captured the overall title for the third time at the five-day Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk in the Netherlands. Thirty-one-year-old Gilbert won the prologue and stage 3 to set up a 12-second lead over fellow Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol), which he controlled until the end to claim a satisfying hat-trick of his own.