Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse on Wednesday.
Kristoff out-sprinted Peter Sagan (Cannondale) at the finish of the 176-kilometer stage from Buochs to Leuggern. The road ticked upward in the last 500 meters; with about 300 meters left, Sagan and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) — who won stages 3 and 4 — launched their final attacks.
Shortly after, Kristoff pulled around the wheel of Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) and pedaled hard to the line. Sagan and Demare, who finished second and third, had no answer as Kristoff flew past them.
“I knew the sprint and the uphill and I knew I could make it from 150 meters to go,” Kristoff told AFP.
Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) remains the overall race leader with four days left. He holds a 23-second advantage over Roman Kreuziger (Saxo) and a 35-second buffer over Rui Costa (Movistar).
“I’m very happy with this victory,” Kristoff said in a team release. “It’s the fifth win of my 2013, I’m living a great season. I also know today it’s the Independence Day in Russia: I’m happy I gave them another reason to celebrate.”
A four-man escape group that took off 18km into the stage was caught with about 24km remaining. At that point, BMC took charge at the front of the peloton to keep Frank safe and out of trouble.
A few riders attacked the main pack in the final 15km, but each attempt was unsuccessful.
The stage was marked by the abandonment of Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), who won two stages at the Giro d’Italia last month. The Italian crashed hard early in the route and was taken to the hospital. He reportedly suffered a concussion, according to AFP.
Visconti was fourth in the GC entering Wednesday’s stage.
The race picks up with Thursday’s 186km stage 6.