Rui Da Costa (Movistar) mounted a successful defense of his Tour de Suisse title on Sunday, winning the final individual time trial and claiming the final yellow jersey.
The 26.8km ITT from Bad Ragaz to Flumserberg was flat at the outset but segued to a tough 10km climb averaging 9 percent. Costa started on a time-trial bike but switched to a road machine for the ascent, and it paid off — he took the stage in 51:56, 21 seconds better than Tanel Kangert (Astana) and 29 ahead of Bauke Mollema (Blanco).
That gave the Portuguese the overall victory by 1:02 over Mollema and 1:10 over Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff).
“We had already decided it was needed to change bikes before the climbs because it was a long climb, an effort longer than half an hour,” Costa said. “I kept a constant pace because I knew it was crucial to stay on my own rhythm from the foot to the top of the climb.
“At the hardest slopes, I already knew the GC was really close as well as the stage, so I went full gas and made the difference. It all went perfectly — I’m super happy.”
The man who began the final stage in the leader’s yellow jersey, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing), finished 19th on the day, nearly two minutes down, and slipped off the podium entirely, to fifth overall.
After starting fast, Frank struggled in the final kilometers of the uphill finish.
“I felt myself getting slower and slower the farther I came up,” he said. “These are the hardest moments — when you realize you can’t quite hold it where you want to be. Maybe I mentally cracked at this moment for a bit. Still, I gave it everything. I fought to the end.”
Teammate Tejay van Garderen, who began the day in sixth overall at 1:17, also lost ground — the American finished seventh overall, at 2:23.