By Nigel Wynn
Defending Tour de Suisse champion Rui Costa (Movistar) won the three-way sprint at the end of a tough stage seven on Friday.
Costa came over the line ahead of Bauke Mollema (Blanco) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) came over the line at 22 seconds behind Costa to keep his yellow jersey for another day. Costa moves up to second overall, just 13 seconds behind Frank.
A large group of 14 riders formed an escape group early in the day, but by the final Hors Categorie climb of Albula Pass, Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco) and Georg Preidler (Argos-Shimano) had left their breakaway companions behind. Joe Dombrowski (Sky) attacked the peloton with 19km to go, and caught and passed Sanchez and Preidler.
Whilst Dombrowski forged ahead up the mountain, Costa, Mollema, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and van Garderen attacked the bunch. They caught and then rode away from the young American two kilometres from the summit.
Behind, Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was trying to bridge up to the lead quartet, passing over the summit with the dropped Dombrowski. They were later joined by race leader Frank, Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Simon Spilak (Katusha).
Pinot couldn't keep pace with the other escapees as the pace was upped into the finish. Costa simply had more in the legs to out-pace Mollema and van Garderen in the sprint. The six chasers came in together 22 seconds behind, enough for Frank to retain the overall lead. Pinot took the King of the Mountains jersey as a very worthy consolation prize.
Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) was a non-starter today after
withdrawing from yesterday's stage after a crash. The Australian was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis.
Saturday's stage eight kicks off with the category one climb of Julier Pass, and then it's mainly downhill save for a small third category bump just six kilometres from the line in Bad Ragaz. The race concludes on Sunday with a decisive 26.8km individual time trial.
Tour de Suisse 2013, stage seven: Meilen to La Punt, 206km
1. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar in 5-11-08
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at same time
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 9 secs
5. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 22 secs
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing
10. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage seven
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing in 25-42-36
2. Rui Costa (Pro) Movistar at 13 secs
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 23 secs
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 44 secs
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 46 secs
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 1-17
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1-23
8. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-42
9. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1-43
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1-50
Josh Edmondson attacked, but was later reeled in by the bunch
Joe Dombrowski goes solo
Bauke Mollema attacks
Mathias Frank and Cameron Meyer chase
(Right to left) Thibaut Pinot, Tejay van Garderen and Bauke Mollema
Rui Costa wins as disappointed Tejay van Gardern and Bauka Mollema look on
Tour de Suisse stage seven photo gallery
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Tour de Suisse stage six photo gallery
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Tour de Suisse stage five photo gallery
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Tour de Suisse stage four photo gallery
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Tour de Suisse stage three photo gallery
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