Rui Costa (Movistar) claimed the second stage of the 2012 Tour de Suisse after catching lone attacker Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) within the final 200 metres of the tough mountains stage.
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Costa left his move until the final kilometre, catching and passing Schleck to take the win in the ski resort of Verbier. Mikel Nieve came home in third, 12 seconds behind Costa. Costa’s win earned him the overall race lead ahead of Schleck at eight seconds.
Schleck launched an attack on the final ascent to Verbier, quickly distancing the remnants of the bunch and putting several pre-race favourites in difficulty. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) was one of those who simply couldn’t keep pace.
Schleck’s advantage soon stretched to around 30 seconds before the effort started to tell and the chase behind was wound up.
John Gadret (Ag2r) was one of the main protagonists along with Tom Danielson (Garmin-Barracuda), but neither timed their efforts as well as Costa who rode around them, caught Schleck and propelled himself across the finish line alone.
Irishman Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) finished sixth on the stage and moves up to fifth overall.
Among those missing from the front selection was stage one winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), who decided not to stick with the leaders and linked up with a slower group. Sagan will no doubt have his eye on Monday’s much less mountainous stage to Aarberg.
Brit Steve Cummings (BMC Racing) stayed with the lead group until the final 4km. The Tour de Suisse is his first race back after crashing out of the Tour of California in May.
The WorldTour-level Tour de Suisse concludes on Sunday, June 17.
Tour de Suisse 2012, stage two: Verbania to Verbier, 218.3km
1. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar in 6-21-13
2. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 4 secs
3. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 12 secs
4. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 13 secs
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 13 secs
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 16 secs
7. Chris Sorensen (Den) Saxo Bank at 16 secs
8. John Gadret (Fra) Agr2-La Mondiale at 16 secs
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 18 secs
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana at 22 secs
Overall classification after stage two
1. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar in 6-31-22
2. Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 8 secs
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana at 15 secs
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 19 secs
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 21 secs
6. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Sky at 21 secs
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 23 secs
8. John Gadret (Fra) Agr2-La Mondialeat 24 secs
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 26 secs
10. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 29 secs
Roman Kreuziger and Tom Danielson
Rui Costa wins, with Frank Schleck behind