2024 Tour de Suisse Stage Three – Race Report

How the race finished

Neve Bradbury and Kasia Niewiadoma went 1-2 for Canyon//Sram Racing, in an aggressive breakaway move that also saw Bradbury jump to second on GC. Femke de Vries (Visma | Lease a Bike) also hung on from the breakaway to claim third on the stage.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Following the opening mountain stage and yesterday’s ITT, Stage Three of the Tour de Suisse was a lumpy stage which some expected to see a breakaway go clear on. With a steep category 2 climb right out of the gate, mountains jersey leader Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) crossed the line first to extend her lead in the mountains classification, with Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) and Gaia Realini (Lidl Trek) patrolling behind.

At 114km to go Mischa Bredewold (SD Worx Protime), Neve Bradbury (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek) went clear temporarily, but were reeled back in. Ten kilometres later Bradbury was on the move again, this time with Elena Pirrone (Roland). The pair went clear, and a few kilometres further down the road were joined by Bradbury’s teammate Kasia Niewiadoma along with Amanda Spratt (Lidl Trek) and Femke de Vries (Visma Lease a Bike). The quintet formed a strong group and included an number of riders within the top ten on GC, making it a potentially important and difficult group for SD Worx Protime to control.

By 50km to go, the quintet had built their lead out to 2:37, extending it to over three minutes by 40km to go. Back in the peloton SD Worx Protime seemed to be struggling to keep things under control, with much of the riding being left to Niamh Fisher Black. With their respective GC positions also under threat, EF Education Cannondale and dsm firmenich PostNL also began to contribute the chase. 

By 20km to go the gap dipped under 2:30 for the first time, with the intermediate sprint coming up. In the breakaway, De Vries scooped up the bonus seconds ahead of Bradbury and Spratt. 

With 17km to go the breakaway approached the final climb of the day, the 4.3km long Route de Champagne, with an average gradient of 6.8%. At the base of the climb the peloton had brought the gap down to 2 minutes. As soon as the road pitched up Niewiadoma attacked from the break with Bradbury on her wheel. Pirrone was immediately dropped, with Spratt and de Vries falling behind soon after. 

In the peloton, dsm firmenich PostNL continued to set a high pace on the climb, and the group slimmed down to Elisa Longo-Borghini and Gaia Realini (Lidl Trek), Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime), Kim Cadzow (EF Education Cannondale) and Juliette Labous (dsm firmenich PostNL). Despite her team having set the pace, at 15km to go Labous found herself struggling to hold the pace set by Vollering at the front, and was dropped. 

Over the top of the climb Vollering had brought the gap to the leaders down to 1:30, but the two Trek riders, who still had their teammate Spratt up the road, didn’t offer up any help. On the descent itself Longo Borghini and Vollering got a small gap on Realini and Cadzow, but Cadzow was able to patch herself back on to the duo. 

By 7km to go the gap had come down to 1:08, with Vollering and Cadzow working together and the Lidl-Trek duo still sitting on. At 5km to go the two Canyon//Sram Racing riders up the road began to extend their lead again, and Vollering began to argue with Longo Borghini about the lack of teamwork. While Spratt was still up the road, Realini and Longo Borghini were risking their podium positions by not contributing. 

Under the flamme rouge Niewiadoma rode full gas, looking to take as much time as possible with Bradbury in the wheels. Niewiadoma swung off to allow Bradbury to come through and take the win, and with it, maximum bonus seconds. Behind, despite being dropped by the two Canyon//Sram Racing riders, de Vries and Spratt cooperated nicely and raced all the way to the line, with de Vries outkicking Spratt for third on the stage.

The GC group eventually came across the line 2:11 down on Bradbury, their lack of cooperation seeing them lose just under a minute in the closing five kilometres. With the bonus seconds, Bradbury jumped to second on GC, pushing Longo Borghini into third, and seeing Realini lose her podium position. With just 17 seconds separating 2nd from 5th position going into the final stage tomorrow, we could see another aggressive stage on the cards. 

Stage Three – Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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