Belarusian takes 3rd, makes overall top-20 alongside Costa (9th) and Karpets, in another field sprint in Romandie prior to the decisive ITT in Crans-Montana on Sunday
Movistar Team keep closing in on success during the 66th Tour de Romandie after a Queen stage -184 kilometers from Bulle to Sion- where Branislau Samoilau claimed a third place behind Luis León Sánchez (RAB), the new race leader after his second consecutive triumph, and Rinaldo Nocentini (ALM) at the 40-man sprint that decided a stage full of unsuccessful attacks. Between those, Portuguese Rui Costa went to the fore again as he tried to surprise the peloton in the Cat. 1 climb of Veysonnaz, 50k from the finish, when he jumped along with three other riders in search for the remnants of the day’s break, which they caught just as the peloton reeled the move back in the final 20km of the stage.
After the last uphill into St-Martin (Cat. 1), in which Costa and Samoilau resisted the hard pace as well as Vladimir Karpets -Rubén Plaza and Jonathan Castroviejo only lost contact in the furious, final 2k-, the Belarusian tried a lone attack with just over 1k to go and still had strength to sprint for the best result in his 2012 season. The Blue trio is still in good position for the GC -Costa is the best performer in 9th-, with less than 30 seconds on Sánchez before the showdown in Crans-Montana: a 16km individual time trial with the Cat. 1 Aminona climb (4k, 10%) halfway through the course.