SAAS-FEE, Switzerland (AP) — World road champion Rui Costa won his third straight Tour de Suisse on Sunday after clinching the ninth and final stage.
The 27-year-old Portuguese made his move with 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) of the 156.7-kilometer mountainous stage to go. Costa finished 14 seconds ahead of Dutch cyclist Bauke Mollema and 24 seconds in front of Switzerland’s Mathias Frank.
“What a wonderful day; stage and overall classification victory. I could not have asked for a better end,” said Costa after winning his first event this season. “No one had ever won Tour de Suisse three times in a row. I’m proud I’m the first one to do it.”
Frank was second overall, 33 seconds behind Costa, with third-placed Mollema 50 seconds off the pace in the 78th edition of the race.
Costa, of the Lampre-Merida team, started the day in third, 1 minute, 5 seconds behind time trial world champion Tony Martin of Germany, who had been leading since the opening stage.
Martin was unable to respond when the leading group made its break with 48 kilometers to go and the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider finished in a group 2:18 behind Costa.
“I was strong enough to maybe win this year,” Martin said. “But at the end it was difficult when co-operation within the chase group wasn’t there and we had a team here focused on the stages and the sprints.”
The German finished fourth overall, 1:13 off the pace. Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who started the day second overall, finished in the same group as Martin to slip to fifth.
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