On his homelands this Tuesday on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, Fabian Lienhard took the opportunity to join the breakaway. In the bumpy finale towards Rüschlikon, he was eventually caught before Thibau Nys won an uphill sprint. Caught behind a few splits, Lenny Martinez lost sixteen seconds on the line and is now thirty seconds behind the new yellow jersey Alberto Bettiol. Tomorrow, the French climber will get back to a more suitable terrain with a summit finish at the Gotthardpass.

On Tuesday, it looked like a calm day was looming for the Tour de Suisse riders, at least until the last forty hilly kilometres. As for Fabian Lienhard, he intended to take full advantage of this third stage, which started from his hometown, Steinmaur. “We were on his training routes, we left not far from his childhood home,” said Thierry Bricaud. “He took the opportunity to spend the day in front even though we knew it was going to be a sprint between the punchers”. “It was really nice to start from home, where we met as kids with Mauro Schmid and Johan Jacobs to train on Wednesday afternoons after school,” Fabian said. “There was the possibility of going in the breakaway, and after five kilometres, we went with two riders from the Swiss national team, my friend Johan, and a rider from Corratec-Vini Fantini.” The thirty-year-old thus got the company of Johan Jacobs, Luca Jenni, Christoph Janssen and Roberto Gonzalez in today’s breakaway and the quintet had a maximum lead of 3’30 while riding at an average pace of nearly 48 km/h in the first two hours of racing. “It was a good group, we rode hard, but the peloton didn’t let us go,” added Fabian. “They caught us quite early but that’s how it is. It was a nice try, and it’s always nice to show yourself in the breakaway at home.”

“We will have a first answer”, Thierry Bricaud

Fabian Lienhard was caught by the bunch in the last thirty kilometres, while the selection had already started from the back. The high pace continued in the last two climbs of the course, and Marc Hirschi tried to anticipate the hilltop finish at Rüschlikon (700m at 7%). Ultimately, Thibau Nys outsprinted a stretched-out bunch. “The main goal was for Lenny not to lose time and not suffer any split,” explained Thierry. “Unfortunately, he lost a little bit in the end. There is a high level, and when it starts pushing, it goes very fast. He wasn’t too badly positioned, but everyone was fighting for position, and in the last push after the downhill, he found himself behind a split. It then went very fast, and he stayed where he was. He lost a little time on the line, but he’s still not far, that’s the main thing. It’s part of his learning.” Thirty-sixth at the finish, Lenny Martinez lost sixteen seconds on the winner, and around ten on his rivals. Overall, he now sits in thirtieth position, thirty seconds behind the yellow jersey Alberto Bettiol. On Wednesday, the Tour de Suisse will already tackle the mountains, with summit finish at the Gotthardpass (8km at 6.5%), after thirty-five ascending kilometres. “We will have a first answer for the riders who have an ambition overall”, concluded Thierry.

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