Updated: Monday, 23 June 2014 01:05 | By Agence France-Presse

Costa wins third straight Swiss title

Portugal's Rui Costa won the Tour of Switzerland title for an unprecedented third time in a row on Sunday after riding to victory in the ninth and final stage.


Costa wins third straight Swiss title

File picture shows Portugal's Rui Costa competing in the 5.57 km prologue of the Tour de Romandie cycling race on April 29, 2014 in Ascona, southern Switzerland - by Fabrice Coffrini

Costa, 27, crossed 14sec ahead of Dutch rider Bauke Mollema with Swiss Mathias Frank 24sec off the pace in third following the 156.5km run from Martigny to Saas-Fee.

Germany's Tony Martin, who had been wearing the leader's yellow jersey since stage one, finished off the podium in overall fourth behind Costa, Frank and Mollema.

World road race champion Costa, who finished third in the Tour of Romandie last month, sets himself up as a candidate for the Tour de France which starts on July 5.

The Portuguese could count on his experience to see him through to a third title after 2012 and 2013, as the Lampre rider, leading a nine-man breakaway group, took Martin by surprise.

Costa stage managed the race over the final two days in the mountains sticking close to Martin on the penultimate stage at the summit of Verbier to claim victory on the final beyond category climb at Saas-Fee. 

The Portuguese rider went off with a breakaway group under cloudy skies at the 46km mark with his advantage on the peloton, in which Martin found himself, more than two minutes 20km from the line.

Attacking on the final two kilometre climb Costa left no chance to his fellow breakaway riders including home hope Frank, who had the consolation of second in the overall standings.

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