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
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
Tony Martin and Damiano Cunego finish. Cancellara and Valjavec follow in the
distance. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter
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
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
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
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”,
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
- Rugell (Lichtenstein) ITT 7.8 km
Stage 2: Davos - Davos
Stage 3 Davos - Lumino
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
Tour de Suisse - 2008 Tour of Switzerland
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