Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) came in for second, with Sergio Henao (Sky) placing third. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) finished in a group five seconds behind Sagan to maintain his overall lead.
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Early on, Martin Kohler (BMC) and Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin) had formed an escape and pushed out their advantage to just under five minutes, but were caught after 105km. Soon after, Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing), Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing), Nino Schurter (Orica-GreenEdge) and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) struck out.
Thurau sat up with around 45km to go, leaving three up front. Omega Pharma-QuickStep drove at the front of the peloton, keen to keep the gap to a minimum mindful of leader Martin’s slim overall lead.
Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto-Belisol) bridged up to the break to breath new life into the move, but never really extended the break’s lead as Garmin-Sharp, Giant-Shimano and FDJ also joined in driving the pursuit.
Just as the catch looked likely, Van Der Sande launched a solo move out the front of the break. Agnoli chased, but the Astana rider slid out on a corner, his day in the escape ending in the long grass but without serious injury. Left out on his own, Van Der Sande couldn’t keep the peloton at bay and was swallowed up with seven kilometres to go to set up a bunch finish.
Peter Kennaugh (Sky) put in a dig with two kilometres to go as the road undulated toward the finish, but was swiftly caught. By this point, the pace and hills had seen the peloton reduced to only round 30 riders – Bradley Wiggins (Sky) not among their number.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) took the helm on the twisting run-in to the line, but couldn’t hang on as Albasini, Henao, Mollema and Sagan moved around him in the finale.
Wiggins finished two minutes and 25 seconds down on Sagan, and did not look like a rider contesting the overall classification.
Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) was a non-starter in Sarnen, still suffering the after-effects of concussion sustained as a result of a crash the previous day.
Tour de Suisse 2014, stage three: Sarnen to Heiden
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5-22-09
2. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
7. Rui Costa (Pro) Lampre-Merida
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo all same time
14. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 5 secs
39. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky at 5 secs
74. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 2-25
109. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar at 6-12
133. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 12-47
137. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky at 12-47
148. Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky at 12-47
Overall classification after stage three
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Phrma-QuickStep
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 6 secs
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 14 secs
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 17 secs
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 23 secs
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 27 secs
7. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 27 secs
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 28 secs
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 29 secs
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 29 secs
11. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky at 29 secs
56. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 2-52
Images from the second stage of the 2014 Tour de Suisse. Photos by Graham Watson
Cameron Meyer wins from three-man escape, as Tony Martin holds on to race lead
Bradley Wiggins finishes stage one in 14th place as time trial world champion Tony Martin dominates in Switzerland