Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won stage two of the Tour de Suisse in a sprint finish from a reduced bunch, while Stefan Kung (BMC Racing) finished safely in the lead group to retain the overall lead.
The world champion recovered from being boxed in to jump onto Fernando Gaviria’s (Quick-Step Floors), wheel after the Colombian started his sprint very early. It turned out to be too early, as he tired as the finish line approached, allowing Sagan to jump round him and take the victory.
Gaviria held on for second, just about resisting a charge from Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), who finished third.
The result continues a remarkable run of success at the Tour de Suisse for Sagan, who has now won 16 stages here since debuting in 2011.
His sprint rounded off good work from his team earlier in the day, after Marcus Burghardt and Daniel Oss had significantly reduced the size of the peloton.
Earlier in the stage, overall leader Stefan Kung (BMC) claimed maximum points at an intermediate sprint, meaning he now leads ahead of his teammate Greg Van Avermaet by three seconds.
How it happened
A breakaway trio was quickly established at the start of the stage, consisting of Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie), Calvin Watson (Aqua Blue Sport) and Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini).
Zaccanti was first over two of four ascents of Herdern, placing him in the lead in the mountains classification.
The gap fluctuated between one and two minutes as the race settled into a steady, uneventful rhythm, until Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott) livened things up with a surprise attack on the third ascent of Herdern, with over 60km still to ride.
It did not take long for Albasini to join the three leaders, and the Swiss rider pushed on at the front after making the juncture.
The peloton kept him and his breakaway companions on a leash, however, with the gap being held to around 1-30, then being pegged back further to just 1-00 before steadying.
With 36km to ride there was a worrying crash involving overall contender Mikel Landa (Movistar). Thankfully, the Spaniard managed to remount his bike quickly, but the other two riders involved – Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and William Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac) – both needed longer to recuperate on the roadside.
The gap started to fall in earnest, with BMC and Quick-Step Floors sharing most of the work at the front of the peloton, and the leaders had just a handful of seconds 30km from the line. By the foot of the fourth and final climb of Herdern they were in sight, and the catch was made later on the climb.
Alert to the bonus second that were now in play after the catch had been made, Kung rolled off the front at the intermediate sprint a few kilometres later to extend his overall lead by three seconds.
With around 23km to ride, Bora-Hansgrohe put the pressure on, first using Marcus Burghardt and then Daniel Oss to set a fearsome pace at the front of the peloton, with Peter Sagan lurking ominously behind.
They succeeded in whittling down the bunch, with riders including Alexander Kristoff (UAE Emirates) being dropped.
When Oss ran out of gas with 19km, a flurry of attacks and counter-attacks followed, including a surprise move from Richie Porte (BMC). A seven-man group featuring powerful riders such as Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Silvan Dillier (Ag2r La Mondiale) briefly got clear, but it was caught as the 5km to banner approached.
The peloton continued to struggle to control things as attacks continued to be fired off right, left and centre, but things eventually calmed down and was brought under control in the final kilometre for a sprint.
Tour de Suisse 2018, stage two: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 156km
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3 Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
5 Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Merida
6 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
9 Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
General classification after stage two
1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team in 4-10-24
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team at 3s
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team, at same time
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 20s
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb at 23s
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at same time
9 Simon Gerrans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 28s
10 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 30s