2023 Tour de Suisse Stage Three – Race Report

How the race finished

Eleonora Gasparrini (UAE Team ADQ) sprinted to the win ahead of Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) and Tereza Neumanova (Liv Racing TeqFind), on Stage Three of the Tour de Suisse.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

The peloton were back on the roads today, racing 120.8km from St. Gallen to Ebnat-Kappel. With the categorised climbs coming in the second half of the race, the opening kilometres were full of attacks, but none were allowed to stick. The peloton rolled with a high pace, with some riders unable to keep in contact with the front. 

Coming into the Category One climb up to Sitzberg, Jumbo Visma were visible on the front holding a steady tempo. SD Worx with Demi Vollering kept race leader Marlen Reusser out of trouble. Over the top, Queen of the Mountains leader Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) pushed on to take the points, with Amanda Spratt carefully marking her wheel, to avoid a repeat of stage one. 

On the technical descent down from Sitzberg the peloton blew apart. Small groups were strewn all over the road. Unfortunately, separate crashes saw Brodie Chapman (4th on GC) and Ruby Roseman-Gannon (leading the youth classification) come down, but both were eventually able to return to the front. Coming off the descent, a small group with most of the GC riders present had formed. With no one prepared to work, things came back together. 

Paula Patino (Movistar) took the opportunity to attack out of the descent, and was joined by Blanka Vas (SD Worx), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Eva van Agt (Jumbo Visma). A little while later, the duo of Urzka Zigart (Jayco AlUla) & Julie van de Velde (Fenix Deceuninck) bridged across, making it a breakaway group of six riders. Rachel Neylan (Cofidis) found herself caught in between, and was eventually reabsorbed back into the peloton.

With SD Worx happy to have Stage One winner Blanka Vas in the group up the road, and no one in that group posing a threat to GC, the responsibility for chasing fell to other teams. Cofidis were happy to take things up on the front, and were eventually joined by UAE Tam AQD. Nonetheless, the gap to the break dragged out to over a minute. The work of UAE Team ADQ dragged a small group clear, but once again things came back together. Through the intermediate sprint, Blanka Vas picked up maximum points to add to her tally from Stage One – although Eva van Agt gave her good competition on the line.

With around 16km to go, coming into the base of the category two climb up to Ricken, the gap to the break had come back down to 35 seconds. It looked like the attention would turn to the GC contenders on the climb. Koppenberg (Cofidis) attacked out of the peloton and gained a small advantage. A little while later, UAE Team ADQ launched Olivia Baril, who quickly made her way across to join Koppenberg. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Petra Stiasny (Fenix Deceuninck) had  similar idea, but their move was carefully tracked by the peloton, and eventually all four riders were reabsorbed.

In the breakaway up front, Zigart and Rooijakkers pushed the pace, allowing the six riders to hold their gap despite the attacks behind. With a few kilometres of the climb to go, and around 12.7km until the finish line, Zigart attacked the break from the front. Looking very strong, she simply rode everyone off her wheel.  

With Rooijakkers losing in the breakaway group, teammate Kasia Niewiadoma attacked again. This time, she got clear, and quickly made her way across the remainder of the break. Reaching them, she went straight over the top – but Blanka Vas quickly followed her wheel, bringing two others with her. With no one prepared – or perhaps able – to share the workload with Niewiadoma, the group was shortly after re-captured by the peloton. 

Out front, Zigart descended carefully, before putting her head down for the final five kilometre flat run into the finish. Her gap hovered around 20 seconds. Once again the chase came down to UAE Team ADQ, who, after launching Baril, were now eying up a potential sprint finish for their Italian rider Eleonora Gasparrini. Within the final kilometre Team SD Worx came to the front, with Reusser in the yellow jersey doing a big pull. Then, it was down to Demi Vollering to bring back Zigart and set up Vas for the sprint. 

In the end, it was heartbreak for Zigart, who was overtaken by the flying peloton with less than 100m to go. It wasn’t a fairytale ending for SD Worx either, though. While Vollering led out Vas, Sierra jumped first. Surprising them all, Gasparrini came with terrific speed from behind, storming past them all to take her first World Tour victory. 

Stage Three – Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com


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