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73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 8 & Photos
By Staff
Date: 6/20/2009
73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 8 & Photos

73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 8 & Photos
Columbia Does it Again!! This time it is Tony Martin's turn to take the glory with a attack on the Crans Montana.  The stage is set for the final showdown on the streets of Berne in the final stage race against the clock...

Young Tony Martin blasted away from the select group of twelve riders with all of the favorites in attack on the final kilometer of today's stage to claim victory, the sixth in the Swiss tour this year.

Martin lept away in the surprise attack coming from behind on the right of the group with all the favorites led by Saxo Bank's Frank Schleck and Fabian  Cancellara. The response was swift but by both Cancellara and Lampre's Damiano Cunego who finished two seconds later in second and third place; though neither could catch the current and final King of the mountains as the pink jersey disappeared beyond their reach before the finish.

Luxemburg Champion Frank Schleck drives the pace for Fabian Cancellara. the favorites Kreuziger, Martin, Cunego, Valjavec get in line waiting for their chance to attack. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

They say, "keep your friends close, but keep your rivals closer," and Cancellara did just that on the eve of the 38.5 km time trial where he is the favorite to take the first victory in race by a Swiss rider since Zulle won in 2002. Cancellara collected a 5 second time bonus earlier in the day to close in to  4 seconds off race leader Tadej Valjavec.

Ag2r la Mondiale's Tadej Valjavec put in a strong defense in fourth place finishing on Cancellara's wheel to save his yellow jersey to start the final test of time on Sunday. The Slovak is a talented rider but he will need to do the time trial of his life to keep Swiss time master Cancellara at bay in a battle over 4 seconds.

Columbia's Kim Kirchen fifth,  Cofidis' Rein Taaramae 6th, with Kloden, Drueuziger, Karpets and Frank Schleck filling out the top ten.

Today's stage started thankfully under sunny skies for the 148 riders on a mostly flat stage until the climb of Crans Montana that rose over the final 30 kilometers to the finish 182 km away. The animateurs, firebrands, and optimists, four in number made their way to the front of affairs and slipped off the front in the first 25 kilometers.  Our adventurer's role call was answered yb Katusha's Pavel Brutt, Rabobank's Lars Boom, Marcel Wyss of Cervélo TestTeam and Cofidis' Hervé Duclos-Lassalle the four worked well together and were allowed to roll up the road as none threatened the closely grouped leaders on the general classification. The team of race leader Tadej Valjavec, Ag2r la Mondiale took to the front and admirably set the pace shadowing the escapees allowing them rein enough to enjoy their optimistic meanderings.

By the 75 km to go mark the quartet had 5:35 on the chase with hope of using the time to springboard to a stage win on the climb ahead; unfortunately the growing  gap signaled the alarm for the favorites and the the leaders sent their lieutenants to the front to close the gap. The pace jumped and the gap came down fast shaving it to 4 minutes in the next 15 km.

With 54 km to go the four put in stiff resistance holding on to a 3:30 gap; behind the pack seemed to reorganize on cue doubling their efforts. The gap continued to fall in spite of our fours insistence to be alone.

Alas as they passed through the intermediate sprint in Scion with only 28 kilometers to go, and most of that a gravity test; the quartet could only claim 1:30 that they held defiantly as they started the climb. Through the sprint Pavel Brutt took the six points on offer followed by Duclos-Lasalle, Marcel Wyss and Lars Boom. Soon it was a case of every man for them self with the peloton, now led by Cancellara's crew started the climb a minute behind.

One by one the riders were picked off until only Marcel Wyss lingered off the front as Frank Schleck led the chase with team leader Fabian on his wheel, all the favorites followed in the yellow jersey group.

The pace making soon swept up Wyss after his valiant effort on the Crans Montana with the Saxo Bank machine leading Kreuziger, Albasini, Martin, Cunego, Kloden, Kirchen and the other minute men in line to become king of the 73rd Edition of the Swiss race. Columbia had the edge with three riders in the group; Kirchen, Monfort and KOM leader Tony Martin. Unimpressed Frank Schleck continued to pound out the pace on the front with 'Cancy' on his wheel as rider attacked off the back of the group leaving 14 leaders.

Attacks followed with Jussi Veikkanene giving his best only to be hauled in by Jose Gomez Marchante a three second gap wnet no where. Morabito, Kiserlovsky, Ruiz Faria Da Costa each tried a gambit, but none did more than gain a few seconds only to fall prey to the steady drumming of the chase by Schleck.

With 4 km to go Schleck sat up and teammate Cancellara was on his own. The group was now down to twelve riders. As they approached the final kilometer the pace slowly quickened... Martin had dropped to the back of the group; but with 500 meters to go he flew up the right side of the loosely packed group and made a 20 meter gap.

Damiano Cunego was the first to respond with Cancellara next, Cunego was closing fast on the fast moving German. But in the end neither he nor Cancellara could catch the Columbia rider. Cunego came close... with Cancellara and Valjavec following at two seconds.

Great effort by Damiano Cunego trying to overcome Martins lightning attack.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Tony Martin and Damiano Cunego finish. Cancellara and Valjavec follow in the distance. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Full Results

One more yellow jersey for Tadej Valjavec. The Ag2r rider has made a strong defense of his race lead for four days; the real test will come tomorrow for the Slovene having to resistFabian Cancellara  the Swiss National and Olympic time trial Champion on his home turf in Berne. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Columbia
Martin Wins Dramatic Finale

San Luis Obispo, California, 20th June 2009 - Tony Martin soloed to Columbia-Highroad’s sixth stage win in eight days of racing in the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday. Clad in the King of the Mountains jersey, the young German rider powered away with less than a kilometre to race to cross the finish line at Crans-Montana alone. Second was Italian Damiano Cunego, four seconds back. Martin’s victory brings Columbia-Highroad’s total of stage wins from the Tour of Switzerland to six and counting. Mark Cavendish has won two, and Bernhard Eisel, Kim Kirchen, Michael Albasini and Martin one each.

On a highly successful day’s racing for Columbia-Highroad, Saturday also saw Marco Pinotti clinch the Italian National Time Trial Championships for a fourth time. In addition Columbia-Highroad women’s team won all top three places overall in the RaboSter Tour in Holland.

“I realized Cunego was chasing behind, and he got fairly close, but I made it in the first place to the finish all the same,” Martin commented. “I’d tried the same kind of move yesterday at the mountain-top finish in Juraparc but it didn’t work out. This time round was different. I waited a lot longer and finally accelerated 500 metres from the line. I got a good gap, and then I knew that I was going to be able to win.”

Already victorious in the time trial stages of the Criterium International in France and the Bayern Rundfahrt in Germany this year, the second-year pro said he considered his Swiss victory “to be the first big win of my career.” And added,  “Hopefully I can do a good time trial on Sunday, too.”

Christian Vande Velde Back to racing in Switzerland, follows on the climb alone. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Cunego - Near miss for Win the 8th stage of Tour de Suisse.

In Crans Montana Damiano had to surrender to Tony Martin, who attacked at 400 meters from the finish of  a 10 riders group that reached the Alpine town. When he saw the German rider attacking, Cunego tried to follow him shortening the gap, but he could not reach Martin. With today's 2nd place, Cunego jumped to 6th place in the overall standing (54" to Valjavec).

The team also had a win with  Simon Spilak in the Tour of Slovenia, report here: Tour of Slovenia Stage 3

Saxo Bank
Fabian Cancellara Third Penultimate Stage

On today's 182 kilometer long stage of the Tour de Suisse between Le Sentier and the mountain top, Crans-Montana, Team Saxo Bank did a lot of hard work to retrieve the breakaway. They managed to do so just before the ascent to the last and highest categorized mountain. For the team's GC-rider rider, Fabian Cancellara, the stage today was all about staying close to the front and lose as little time as possible before tomorrow's crucial time trial in Bern.

And his teammates, Andy and Fränk Schleck put in all their strength to keep the strongest competitors in line through a very high pace on the last part of the climb. And not even several attempts to drop the big Swiss rider could prevent him from finishing third behind Tony Martin (Team Columbia) and Damien Cunego (Lampre). Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara is now the favorite to take the overall victory in this years edition of Tour de Suisse.

Fabian Cancellara commented after the finish, "Today was a key stage in relation to the prospects for an overall victory and in that perspective I and the entire team can be satisfied. We were expecting massive attacks and they sure came on the last mountain. The team was perfectly organized and when everything was on fire we had good grip on the situation. Tomorrow awaits the final stage but it is still too early to say anything about the final outcome. The way the top riders of the GC are riding there is no doubt that I will have to do my very best to preserve the possibility of overall victory”,

Cervélo TestTeam
Marcel Wyss Break
"Our pre-stage strategy today was to have Marcel make an early attack," said Sports Director Marcello Ablasini. "He did just that and led the race with three others in a breakaway that at one point was 5 and a half minutes in front. Marcel was the last to be pulled in so, that part of our plan worked well. We also expected our Spanish riders to show their strength in the final climb, and they did with Marchante attacking in the beginning of the final climb together with Steve Morabito from Astana. But unfortunately they didn't have enough space to break from the peloton. Our guys (Florencio, Marchante and Cuesta) ended in the second group one minute from the stage winner Tony Martin."

73rd Tour de Suisse - 2009 Stages
June 13 - 21
Stage 1:Mauern  - Rugell (Lichtenstein) ITT 7.8 km
Stage 2: Davos - Davos   150 km
Stage 3 Davos - Lumino  195 km
Stage 4: Biasca - Stäfa   197 km
Stage 5: Stäfa - Serfaus (AUT)  202 km ^^^
Stage 6: Oberriet - Bad Zurzach, 178 km
Stage 7: Bad Zurzach - Vallorbe Juraparc  204 km
Stage 8: Le Sentier - Crans Montana   182 km^^^
Stage 9: Bern - Bern  ITT  39 km
Total length: 1,355 kilometres
Race Website  
 72nd Tour de Suisse - 2008 Tour of Switzerland
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