The Italian World Champion Elisa Balsamo won the third stage of the Tour de Suisse Women. She defeated Évita Muzic and Liane Lippert in a photo finish in the mountain sprint. Kristen Faulkner maintained her lead in GC and is poised for the overall victory.
Overall leader Kristen Faulkner is comfortable in the gold jersey. The American defended her lead impressively, remaining calm in a nervous peloton. “We controlled the race very well and let the breakaways go, making sure that Lucinda Brand, second overall, couldn’t collect any bonus seconds.” Faulkner plainly stated her ambitions. “I am ready to win the overall classification and with it the Tour. I have a strong team and good legs. Unless I make a stupid mistake, like letting a direct competitor get away, it will all go well.” Elisa Balsamo was happy with her stage win: “To win here in Switzerland is great. It was a difficult sprint and I am happy that I made it. In a photo finish you never know”. Tomorrow, the Italian World Champion is unlikely to play a role. “I don’t really like mountains,” she admitted.
Photos: Buchli Photography/Sam Buchli
How the race unfolded
The 86 riders began the third stage nervously. Two riders could only break away from the peloton after about 20 kilometres. This duo was Swiss cyclist Aline Seitz and Dutch cyclist Nicole Steigenga. They were caught shortly before the QOM classification in Gais. After that, the riders neutralised each other until a group of five could escape in the downhill. Quinty Ton, Léa Curinier, Stine Borgli, Amber Kraak and the Swiss Sina Frei harmonised very well. Their lead ended just three kilometres before the finish. Leader Kristen Faulkner kept up surprisingly well in the climb to the line, defending her gold jersey. She finished 15th in the day’s classification. In the front, World Champion Elisa Balsamo took the stage win by the closest of margins. Évita Muzic and Liane Lippert had to settle for the minor places.
Preview of the Fourth Stage
Tomorrow’s stage is both the final day and the Queen Stage. From Chur the peloton heads through the Prättigau and over the Wolfgangpass (1626 metres above sea level; 6.3km à 6.8%). This is followed by the rapid descent through the Landwasser valley before the climb up to the finish in Lantsch/Lenz (1493 metres above sea level; 6.3km at 8.1%).