Costa wins Queen Stage, 14. June 2013

Last year’s overall winner triumphs in La Punt – Frank still leads with 13-second advantage. 

Portuguese rider, Rui Costa (Movistar), secured the day’s victory in the 206 kilometre Queen Stage on the seventh day of the Tour de Suisse from Meilen via a 3374 metre elevation gain to La Punt. Last year’s overall winner prevailed in a sprint finish contested by a group of four with Bauke Mollema (Blanco/2nd), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team/3rd) and  Thibaut Pinot (FDJ/leader mountain classification). They broke away on the climb up to the Albula Pass, and Bauke Mollema (Blanco) made a decisive attack some four kilometres before the summit. However, the current race leader, Mathias Frank of BMC Racing Team, was unable to chase and let his lieutenant, van Garderen, make the move. “I told him to go for it. And he was possibly able to reduce the pace a little for me on the descent,” said Frank of the team tactics. “It was really hard going today, but we had it all under control. My team did a superb job. Unfortunately, my legs weren’t the best they’ve been – I really suffered and felt the altitude. I had to ride at my pace.” At the summit of the pass, Frank rode side-by-side with Cameron Meyer and concluded that “The good thing about today is that I’m still in front.”

Costa throws down the gauntlet
Swiss rider, Frank, retained the leader jersey with a 13-second advantage ahead of second-placed Costa who pushed towards the front from third place. Awaiting the Portuguese stage winner in La Punt was his fan club, as Costa is well-known and a popular rider in Switzerland since his victory last year. “It was really tough today. Mathias Frank is on excellent form. My teammates worked well, and I have them to thank for the win.” In third place in the overall classification and 23 seconds behind the leader is the previous second-placed rider, Roman Kreuziger (Saxo Tinkoff). Sunday will be the decider with the mountain time trial to Flumserberg. “It’s going to be a tough day, but I’ll give it everything I’ve got to be overall winner of the Tour de Suisse,” said Costa, throwing down the gauntlet to Frank. 

Hectic pace right from the start
As soon as the stage began, the attacks came thick and fast, but the day’s escape group broke away after 70 kilometres. It consisted of 14 riders and built up a maximum advantage of 5:11 minutes, before it spilt up and was caught on the climb to the Albula Pass. Once again, there were a number of retirements, including Mark Renshaw (Blanco).