Four riders formed the day’s breakaway early in the 162.3-kilometer stage but with a bunch sprint expected in Murten, the peloton kept the quartet’s advantage to under four minutes.
It was relatively calm in the bunch until the final 50 kilometers when the sprinters’ teams took control of the chase and started to bring the breakaway back.
As the breakaway passed the finish line for the first time, to start a local lap, their advantage was down to one minute and with 10 kilometers to go, Simon Pellaud (Switzerland) launched a solo attack from the breakaway to try and avoid a bunch sprint.
The peloton’s collective strength saw Pellaud caught six kilometers before the line which set the stage for the bunch sprint.
Van Avermaet’s CCC Team teammates came to the front to help position Van Avermaet in what was expected to be a chaotic finish on the cobbled final kilometer.
Van Avermaet remained in the first 20 riders in the final kilometers but wasn’t able to move up in the final kilometer and settled for 16th place.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“Today was probably the easiest stage of the race on paper which means that a lot of riders wanted to be up there in the final, so it was pretty messy. The team worked hard to lead me in the finale but everyone was fighting for wheels in the last kilometers because of the way the final kilometer was. If you are too far back, like I was, you’re never going to get in front in the final few hundred meters. It was good to try and I felt good so that’s a good sign. We hope to do something in the next couple of stages.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 3: Flamatt > Marten (162.3km)
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (BORA – hansgrohe), 2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), 3. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo)
CCC Team top 3: 16. Greg Van Avermaet, 86. Michael Schär, 103. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck