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UCI WorldTour: Rui Costa unbeatable in Tour de Suisse for second year running




Results Tour de Suisse

Rankings UCI WorldTour


Victory in Friday’s main mountain stage and again in Sunday’s final time trial gained Portugal’s Rui Costa (Movistar team) the outright triumph for a second year running in the Tour de Suisse - and enabled him to make some big gains in the UCI WorldTour rankings too.

In Sunday’s gruelling 26.8 kilometre uphill time trial between Bad Ragaz and Flumserberg, featuring 800 metres of vertical climbing, Costa claimed the final stage victory by 21 seconds over Tanel Kangert (Astana Pro Team) and 29 seconds over his most tenacious rival, Holland’s Bauke Mollema (Blanco Pro Cycling Team). That left the Movistar rider with a final lead of just over a minute on Mollema, and 1 minute and 10 seconds ahead Amstel Gold Race winner Roman Kreuziger (Team Saxo-Tinkoff).

The Tour de Suisse’s first weekend had shown that Mollema was set to be a major challenger after he took the first summit finish, at Crans-Montana ski station, on stage two. However, the lead the following day at Meiringen was captured by BMC Racing Team’s Mathias Frank when Mollema seemed helpless to prevent Frank, Rui Costa and stage winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) breaking away on the first category Hasliberg.

Sagan was to add a second stage win (and eighth of his career in the race) before the Tour de Suisse concluded, whilst Costa moved up to second overall with a blazing attack on the Hors Categorie Albulapass climb on stage seven. Whilst Costa was fastest of a four man lead group that day, Frank held onto the top spot overall, but only by 13 seconds. And on Sunday’s time trial, whilst Frank slumped to 19th on the stage, Costa’s consistency gave him a well-deserved overall victory.

“This was an important stage and it was great to have a chance to win again," Rui Costa said afterwards . "It was a perfect day for me. My directeur sportif gave me good time checks and I felt good in the time trial."

"To win the Tour de Suisse once is good, to win it twice is even better and I won two stages too. It's nice to see so many Portuguese fans here too."

Overall in the UCI WorldTour rankings Sagan’s two stage wins have enabled him to move ahead of Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo NIbali (Astana Pro Team) and secure the second spot overall behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), who has 351 points. Swiss-born Cancellara did not secure any points in his home race, so whilst retaining the WorldTour lead, his pre-Tour de Suisse advantage of 29 points has now shrunk to just 22 on Sagan.

Whilst Nibali slips to third, Ireland’s Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) was another rider to benefit from a strong Tour de Suisse performance. Eighth overall in the final classification, Martin, already a Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Volta a Catalunya winner this year, is now back into sixth spot in the WorldTour rankings.

The biggest mover, though, is undoubtably Rui Costa himself, up from 31st to 10th overall in one fell swoop. Costa will be seeking to consolidate his top ten position in the upcoming Tour de France - but he will not be the only rider with that goal in mind!

The nations classification has proved far more stable, with no changes whatsoever in the top five’s positions or points totals whatsoever. Instead Spain remains in control with 811 points, Colombia in second spot with 760 and Italy in third with 720. Great Britain and Australia, who both have more than 500 points, continue to look like the only two other countries that in a position to challenge the top three nations. That did not happen, however, at the Tour de Suisse.

Further down the classification, Mollema’s excellent showing has given the Netherlands an important boost allowing it to move up to sixth place. France and Switzerland also shifted up a spot, as Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) fourth overall in the Tour de Suisse and Frank’s prolonged spell in the lead for the host nation both having an impact. Belgium’s previously good ranking has suffered badly as a result, though, and it has tumbled from sixth to ninth overall.

The top four spots of the UCIWorldTour teams classification also remains unchanged and large stable, with Sky ProCycling still the only squad with a four figure total to its name: 1062 points. It is true that 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Alexandre Kristoff’s bunch sprint stage five victory at Leuggern, as well as Simon Spilak’s ninth place overall did allow second-placed Katusha to make up a minimal amount of lost ground on Sky. However, Rui Costa’s overall win has had a far more dramatic effect, and places Movistar back in the running for a top three spot. They now trail the Russians by a mere 20 points. With Sky 292 points clear, though, the British team are looking increasingly on course to be outright winners of the teams classification by the end of the season.

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