Cavendish takes sprint in Tour de Suisse
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Cavendish takes sprint in Tour de Suisse

by Steve Jones at 1:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour de Suisse

In his first race since the Giro d'Italia, Britain's Mark Cavendish (Columbia-High Road) picked up where he left off by winning the sprint finish in today's 195.4km third stage of the Tour de Suisse. In his wake Cavendish left a charging Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and a fading Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam).

"It was another perfect win for us," said the 24-year-old Columbia team sprinter.

"Having four riders there to help me in the last three kilometres showed how good and strong we are as a team.

"It was a great lead out and all the guys worked perfectly. Thor Hushovd tried to get a jump on me but I was able to get him before the line."

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara was able to stay out of trouble and maintain his 22 second lead over defending champion Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) with Andreas Kloden (Astana) a close third just 25 seconds adrift.

How the race unfolded

A four-man breakaway formed on Monday's main difficulty, the 21km climb up the Lukmanierpass, and by the time they reached the top they had a three-minute advantage on the main field with 70km left to race.

With the breakaway's Enrico Gasparotto of Lampre being a threat to Cancellara's overall lead, his Saxo Bank team began to chase with help from the sprinter's teams. With 20km to go the break worked hard to keep their lead, but by the time they reached the 4km banner it was all over.

By the time they reached the final kilometer it was Columbia-High Road showing everyone one of the things they do best, launching Cavendish to another win in his build up for his first green jersey attempt at this year's Tour de France. Spaniard Oscar Freire proved today that he was on good form as well as he snatched up the second place from Hushovd. With Freire's superior climbing abilities giving him more options for intermediate sprint points, it might take all of Columbia-High Road to fend off the three-time world champion in the green jersey battle next month.

Tomorrow's fourth stage will take the race on a 195km ride from Biasca to Staefa. Taking place on the eve of the race's Queen stage means a breakaway has a good chance of finding it's way to the finish. With the day's hors categorie climb early on in the stage and a second category climb coming late, the overall contenders will likely make their moves the following day.

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia-Highroad 4:39:27
2. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo TestTeam
4. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-N.G.C.
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 8:25:39
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas at 22
3. Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana at 25
4. George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia-Highroad at 27
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia-Highroad at 34


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