Tour de Suisse 3: Proni wins longest stage; Cancellara holds yellow

Seond-year pro Alessandro Proni (Quick Step) flexed his muscles for victory in the 228.7km stage 3

Seond-year pro Alessandro Proni (Quick Step) flexed his muscles for victory in the 228.7km stage 3 o

PIC: Alessandro Proni - Quick Step-Innergetic (Tim DeWaele) Italian Alessandro Proni (Quick Step - Innergetic) won the third stage of the Tour de Suisse after a 211-kilometer (131-mile) breakaway, earning his first career victory Monday. Team CSC's Fabian Cancellara held onto the leader's yellow jersey by a scant two seconds. Along with breakaway companions Daniel Navarro Garcia (Astana) and Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Unibet.com), Proni escaped on the descent of the 2,383-meter (7818-foot) Col de la Fluela early in the 228.7-kilometer (142-mile) stage from Brunnen to the Austrian town of Nauders. The trio widened the gap to 11 minutes after 68 kilometers (42.26 miles). "It's not only the biggest win of my career, it's the first win of my professional career," Proni said. "I'm used to winning as an amateur but not as a pro. This is still hard for me to believe." With a group of riders closing in the final 15km, Proni then attacked at the foot of the final, six-kilometer climb and went over the top with only a 10-second advantage, finishing the stage on top the podium. Proni finished the longest stage of this year's tour seven seconds ahead of the peloton. Rounding out the podium were Spaniard Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) in second, while Luxembourgian Kim Kirchen (T-Mobile) was third. Cancellara finished a surprising 12th Monday, strong enough to hold onto the yellow jersey for another day. The Swiss time trial star handily took Saturday's prologue and finished third in Sunday's stage 2. "It's a very tough, very long stage," Cancellara said. "But the yellow jersey was just too beautiful. I didn't want to give up. I think I've shown I've made a lot of progress and I'm no longer just a time trial specialist." In the GC, Proni is second, two seconds behind Cancellara, followed by Kirchen, who is 14 seconds back. The fourth stage, with two intermediate sprints and a couple of category two climbs, covers 167.2 kilometers (103.90 miles) from Nauders to Triesenberg-Malbun in Liechtenstein. Results 1 Alessandro Proni (Ita, Quick Step - Innergetic) 6:02:17 (37.876kph) 2 Xavier Florencio (Spa, Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:07 3 Kim Kirchen (Lux, T-Mobile) 4 Cristian Moreni (Ita, Cofidis) 5 Frnk Schleck (Lux, Team CSC) 6 Matthias Kessler (Ger, Astana) 7 Matteo Carrara (Ita, Unibet.com) 8 Andreas Kloden (Ger, Astana) 9 Damiano Cunego (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 10 Linus Gerdeman (Ger, T-Mobile) General classification after stage 3 1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi, Team CSC) 10:11:34 (38,227 km/h) 2 Alessandro Proni (Ita, Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:02 3 Kim Kirchen (Lux, T-Mobile) 00:00:14 4 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa, Bouygues Telecom) 00:00:15 5 Martin Elmiger (Swi, Ag2r Prevoyance) 00:00:17 6 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa, Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:18 7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe, Unibet.com) 00:00:19 8 Hubert Schwab (Swi, Quick Step - Innergetic) 00:00:20 9 Vladimir Karpets (Rus, Caisse d'Epargne) 00:00:21 10 Thomas Lvkvist (Swe, Franaise Des Jeux) 00:00:23 11 Cristian Moreni (Ita, Cofidis) 12 Michael Rogers (Aus, T-Mobile) 13 Frank Schleck (Lux, Team CSC) 14 Christopher Horner (USA, Predictor-Lotto) 00:00:25 15 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa, Quick Step - Innergetic)

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