Cavendish wins Tour of Switzerland sprint

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Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara retains the lead after the third part of the nine-stage race.

LUMINO -- Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara retains the lead of the Tour of Switzerland as Britain's Mark Cavendish won the 195.4 kilometre third stage on Monday.

The 24-year-old from the Isle of Man, who won four stages at the 2008 Tour de France, surged in the last metres after Norwegian Thor Hushovd's slowed.

"It was another perfect win for us," said the 24-year-old Columbia team sprinter. "Having four riders there to help me in the last three kilometres showed how good and strong we are as a team.

"It was a great lead out and all the guys worked perfectly. Thor Hushovd tried to get a jump on me but I was able to get him before the line."

It is a first Tour of Switzerland for Cavendish, who has not raced since the Giro d'Italia where he earned three stage wins.

Spanish cyclist Oscar Freire of Rabobank came through late to leave Cervelo's main sprinter Hushovd in third place.

A four-man group gained an advantage during Monday's main difficulty, the 21-kilometre climb to the 1940-metre high Lukmanierpass, which they reached with a three-minute lead but with still 70-kilometres to race.

One of the four, Enrico Gasparotto of Lampre, threatened Cancellara's overall lead, prompting the Swiss cyclist’s Saxo Bank team to join the sprinters' teams.

The frontrunners struggled to maintain their lead in the final 20-kilometres, but the sprinters’ group caught up to them with four kilometres remaining.

As the sprinters reached the front of the pack, Cancellara - neither a climber nor a sprinter - finished 10th on the stage.

The 28-year-old from Berne maintained his 22-second lead on the Czech Republic's defending champion Roman Kreuziger of the Liquigas team ahead of the fourth stage, a 195-kilometre ride from Biasca to Staefa.

The nine-stage event is considered an important warm-up for the Tour de France starting on 4 July.

AFP / Expatica

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