Tony Rominger & Alex Zulle, Frenchman Laurent Jalabert
& Austrian Peter Luttenberger, last year's winner are
the main favorites to win the Tour of Switzerland
which will start tomorrow and go to June 26. Also
participating and with possibilities will be Russian
Yevgueni Berzin, Belgian Johan Museeuw & Italian Marco
Pantani. Bjarne Riis & Jan Ulrich, first and second at
the last Tour de France will not participate,
preferring to save their energy for the Tour. The top
3 at the Giro'97, Ivan Gotti, Pavel Tonkov & Giuseppe
Guerini, will not participate.
This edition will count with 10 stages and 1,619km,
which is favorable for climbers, with three stages in
the high mountains and six category one climbs. Teams
participating will be: ONCE, Telekom, Mapei, MG,
Mercatone Uno, Rabobank, Casino, Saeco, Festina,
Cofidis, La Francaise des Jeux, Polti, Batik,Refin,
Scrigno, Amore-Vita, Aki, Post Swiss Team.
Tuesday 17 June, Stage 1: ITT in Romanshorn (7,2 km)
Almost totally flat, but with lots of bends.
Wednesday, 18 June, Stage 2: Romanshorn-Basel (193 km)
A stage for the sprinters. Two laps in downtown Basel can make it interesting.
Thursday 19 June, Stage 3: Basel-La Chaux-de-Fonds (202 km)
The first 125 km are quite flat, with the exception of the climb of
Two third category climbs in the Jura mountains towards the finish can inspire
Friday 20 June, Stage 4: La Chaux-de-Fonds-Kandersteg (183 km)
first long climb, the Gurnigelpass (1st cat.) after 113 km and the last
27 km from Thunersee (622 m) to the finish (1176 m) can make a first selection.
Saturday, 21 June, Stage 5: ITT in Spiez (31,5 km).
The first test of truth on a rolling course.
Sunday, 22 June, Stage 6: Spiez-Bosco Gurin (254 km)
The key stage of the Tour, both in length and topography (4 195 m of climbing).
Grimsel- and Nufenenpass in the first part of the stage, finishing with
a 16 km long, very steep climb.
Monday 23 June, Stage 7: Locarno-Zug (194 km)
From the Gotthardpass it is almost 100 km to the finish. A stage for long
Tuesday, 24. June, Stage 8: Zug-Wetzikon (174 km)
Up and down with a spectacular finish in Zürcher Oberland.
Wednesday, 25. June, Stage 9: Wetzikon-Davos (193 km)
The Wolfgangpass is the last big difficulty.
Thursday, 26. June, Stage 10: Davos-Zürich (187 km)
A stage for the sprinters with the finish on the velodrome in Oerlikon.
Rabobank: Luttenberger (Aut), Bruyneel (Bel), Sörensen (Den).
Amore e Vita: Forconi (Ita), Patuelli (Ita).
Batik: Berzin (Rus), Minali (Ita), Ugo Colombo (Ita), Pierobon
Casino: Elli (Ita), Järmann (Sch), Kasputis (Lit), Saligari
Cofidis: Rominger (Sch), Fondriest (Ita), Capelle (Fra).
Festina: Hervé (Fra), Boscardin (Sch), Garcia-Casas (Spa),
La Fançaise des Jeux: Gianetti (Sch), Guesdon (Fra), Sciandri
(Gbr), Seigneur (Fra).
Mapei: Camenzind (Sch), Bugno (Ita), Museeuw (Bel), Nardello (Ita),
Faresin (Ita), Steels (Bel).
Mercatone Uno: Beat and Markus Zberg (Sch), Pantani (Ita).
MG-Technogym: Bartoli (Ita), Charrière (Sch), Coppolillo (Ita).
Once: Zülle (Sch), Laurent Jalabert (Fra), Mauleon (Spa).
Polti: Atienza (Sch), Merckx (Bel), Baldinger (Ger).
Post Swiss Team: Roland Meier, Aebersold, Bourquenoud, (all Sch).
Refin: Felice and Nicola Puttini (Sch), Piepoli (Ita), Lietti (Ita).
Saeco: Francesco Casagrande (Ita), Buschor (Sch), Moos (Sch), Martinello
(Ita), Petito (Ita).
Scrigno: Guidi (Ita), Casarotto (Ita), Conte (Ita).
Telekom: Riis (Den), Bölts (Ger), Heppner (Ger), Ullrich (Ger),
Zabel (Ger), Lombardi (Ita).
Aki: Miceli (Ita), Gontschar (Ukr), Zanette (Ita)
THE BIG CLIMBS:
Stage 4: Gurnigel (1608 m), Kandersteg (1176 m)
Stage 6: Grimsel (2165 m), Nufenen (2478 m), Bosco Gurin (1503m/finish)
Stage 7: Gotthard (2109 m)
Stage 9: Wolfgang (1631 m)
1. Oscar Camenzind (Sch) Mapei 8.57
2. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank + 0.03
3. Roberto Petito (Ita) + 0.05
4. Danny Nelissen (Ned) Rabobank + 0.07
5. Udo Bvlts (Ger) Telekom + 0.14
6. J|gen Werner (Ger) Telekom + 0.19
7. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei + 0.21
8. Frederic Guesdon (Fra) FDJ s.t.
9. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino s.t.
10. Max van Heeswijk (Ned) Rabobank s.t.
11. Franck Bouyer (Fra) FDJ + 0.22
12. Mirko Celestino (Ita) Polti s.t.
13. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) Festina s.t.
14. Eddy Seigneur (Fra) FDJ + 0.23
15. Philipp Buschor (Sch) Saeco s.t.
1. Erik Zabel (Germany) 4.53.38
2. Robbie McEwen (Australia)
3. Fabio Baldato (Italy)
4. tom Steeles (Belgium)
5. Lauri Aus (Estonia)
6. Rolf Jaermann (Switzerland)
7. Maurizio Fondriest (Italy)
8. Markus Zberg (Switzerland)
9. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Italy)
10. Emmanuel Magnien (France)
11. Fabio Sacchi (Italy)
12. Denis Zanette (Italy)
13. Niki Aebersold (Switzerland)
14. Nicola Minali (Italy)
15. Cristiano Colleoni (Italy) all s.t.
GC after Stage 2
1. Oskar Camenzind (Switizerland) 5.02.35
2. Lon Van Bon (Netherlands) 0.01
3. Roberto Petito (Italy) 0.05
4. Danny Nelissen (Netherlands) 0.07
5. Udo Bolts (Germany) 0.14
6. Juergen Werner (Germany) 0.19
7. Fabio Baldato (Italy) 0.20
8. Daniele Nardello (Italy) 0.21
9. Frdric Guesdon (France)
10. Christophe Agnolutto (France)
11. Max Van Heeswijk (Netherlands)
12. Franck Bouyer (France) 0.22
13. Mirko Celestino (Italy)
14. Emmanuel Magnien (France)
15. Philipp Buschor (Switzerland) 0.23
Stage 1 Report
Germany's Erik Zabel surged from the pack with less than a kilometre to go then
a wild sprint to take the second stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Wednesday.
Zabel was clocked at four hours 53 minutes 38 seconds along the 193-km route
from Romanshorn, crossing nearly a bike
length ahead of hard-charging Robbie McEwen of Australia and Italy's Fabio
Switzerland's Oskar Camenzind, the surprise winner of Tuesday's time trial,
finished 18th in the same time as the winner to cling
to the overall lead, one second ahead of the Netherlands' Leon Van Bon.
Much of the stage was dominated by a gutsy display from Italy's Fabrizio Guidi,
who broke away with compatriot Alessandro
Romio and led the race for 175 kms.
They built up a 10-minute advantage with some 60 kms to go but the effort
drained Romio who suddenly fell off the pace,
leaving Guidi on his own.
Without help, Guidi watched his advantage slowly evaporate until he was
absorbed by the peleton with just 10 kms remaining,
setting the stage for a sprint finish.
World number one Laurent Jalabert of France, Swiss favourite Tony Rominger,
defending Swiss champion Peter Luttenberger
of Austria and Denmark's Bjarne Riis, who is using the race to prepare for the
defence of his Tour de France title, all crossed in
the same time as Zabel but remain well back in the overall classification after
disappointing results in the time trial.
Riders will have to contend with the challenging Jura mountains during
Thursday's third stage over 202 kms from Basle to
Chaux de Fonds.
Germany's Erik Zabel clinched the second stage of
the Tour de Suisse cycling race Wednesday while Oskar Camenzind of
Switzerland, surviving his first day as leader atop the standings,
retained his yellow jersey.
After a spectacular but fruitless 175 kilometer breakaway effort
by Italy's Fabrizio Guidi, Zabel won the stage in the final sprint,
crossing in 4 hours, 53 minutes, 38 seconds.
The Berlin native finished just ahead Australia's Robbie McEwen
and Fabio Baldato of Italy, who, finishing with the main pack,
registered the same time.
Camenzind maintained his spot atop the rankings with a combined
time of 5:02:35.
After a rainy prologue time-trial in Romanshorn, the 156
cyclists appeared sluggish, fighting a headwind for the first 25
Only two Italians got off to a good start, Guidi and rookie-pro
Alessandro Romio taking the lead after the first four kilometers,
and covering 11 more than the rest of the pack in the first hour.
After 100 kilometers of joint breakaway effort, Romio, needing a
food break, was unable to keep up with his compatriot.
Alone, Guidi's task was more difficult. A five minute lead 29
kilometers before the finish was insufficient as Guidi's reserves
collapsed. Overtaken, the Tuscan had to settle for 145th place.
``I'll try it again, we don't have anything more to lose,'' said
Guidi, referring to Tour de France organizers' decision to leave
his team Scrigno off the 1997 start list. ``We were firmly counting
on being at the start of the Tour de France.''
The end of the stage in the center of Basel proved to be much
more attractive for the spectators than the riders, who complained
about the tram tracks and sharp bends.
Leader Camenzind needed only to stay with the lead pack to
retain his jersey, but found even that to be a struggle.
``In this stretch it was enormously difficult to keep up,'' said
Camenzind holds a one second lead over Leon Van Bon of the
Netherlands while Italy's Roberto Petito sits third with a five
second disadvantage. Danny Nelissen of the Netherlands is seven
seconds behind in fourth, and Germany's Udo Boelts lies fifth, with
a 14 second deficit.
It was Zabel's 10th stage victory this season, his third ever at
the Tour de Suisse, having won the stages in Geneva and Lenzbourg
``So soon before the Tour de France, such a victory is of course
worth a lot,'' said Zabel. ``And the Tour de Suisse is among my
Zabel seemed unaffected by a wisdom tooth operation two days
ago. ``Since I had the tooth pulled I am doing much better,''
Stage 3, Basel-La Chaux de Fonds, 202 kms:
1. Christophe Agnolutto (France) 4.30.23
2. Max Van Heeswijk (Netherlands) 2.34
3. Valentino Fois (Italy)
4. Marco Vergnani (Italy) 6:52
5. Rof Aldag (Germany) 11:32
6. Gilles Bouvard (France)
7. Mauro Bettin (Italy)
8. Lauri Aus (Estonia)
9. Fabio Baldato (Italy)
10. Aart Vierhouten (Netherlands)
11. Niki Aebersold (Switzerland)
12. Udo Boelts (Germany)
13. Luca Mazanti (Italy)
14. Jon Odriozola (Spain)
15. Cristiano Colleoni (Italy) all s.t.
Overall after Stage 3
1. Agnolutto 9.33.07
2. Van Heeswijk 2:34
3. Fois 2:55
4. Vergnani 9:04
5. Oskar Camenzind (Switzerland) 11:23
6. Leon Van Bon (Netherlands)
7. Roberto Petito (Italy) 11:28
8. Danny Nelissen (Belgium) 11:30
9. Bolts 11:37
10. Juergen Werner Germany) 11:42
Stage 3 Reports
A spectacular solo effort in Thursday's third stage has earned
Christophe Agnolutto of France the overall lead in the Tour of Switzerland.
Timing his escape from a four-man breakaway group perfectly, the little known
second-year professional powered away on the
final climb 17km from the finish in northern Switzerland, coasting home a
comfortable two minutes and 34 seconds clear of fading
Max Van Heeswijk of the Netherlands and Italy's Valentino Fois.
``I made a good break but I did not know if I could last until the end,'' said
Agnolutto. ``I didn't think the peloton would let four
riders get away like that. We simply improvised and it worked.''
Italy's Marco Vergnani, the fourth rider in the group which broke away 120km
into the 202km run from Basle, struggled across
almost seven minutes behind the winner while the peloton, including world
number one Laurent Jalabert of France, world
champion Johan Museeuw of Belgium and Tour de France champion Bjarne Riis of
Denmark, staggered in 11 minutes and 32
While the win was the biggest in Agnolutto's career, it was equally welcomed by
Casino, the 27-year-old Parisian's team, which is
without leader Olympic champion Pascal Richard, who underwent surgery to remove
a cyst from his groin on Monday and will not
be available for the Tour de France.
``This is my best victory as a professional,'' said Agnolutto.
Agnolutto's dominating performance left him on top of the overall rankings, two
minutes 34 seconds ahead of Van Heeswijk.
Switzerland's Oskar Camenzind, who had worn the yellow leader's jersey the
first two days, dropped to fifth.
Defending Swiss Tour champion Peter Luttenberger of Austria, will be among
several riders looking to make a move in Friday's
fourth stage as the race moves into the mountains for the first time with a
gruelling 183km run from La Chaux de Fonds to
Kandersteg which includes a category one climb.
1. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom 4.26.23
2. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone + 0.38
3. Roland Meier (Sch) Post Swiss s.t.
4. Michele Bartoli (Italy) MG + 1.08
5. Oskar Camenzind (Sch) Mapei + 1.11
6. Udo Bvlts (Ger) Telekom s.t.
7. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom + 1.14
8. Francesco Secchiari (Ita) Scrigno
9. Peter Luttenberger (Aus) Rabobank
10. Beat Zberg (Sch) Mercatone
11. Nicola Miceli (Ita) Aki
12. Danny Nelissen (Ned) Rabobank
13. Bjarne Riis (Den) Telekom
14. Philipp Buschor (Sch) Saeco
15. Dirk Baldinger (Ger) Polti all s.t.
1. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino 14.02.47
2. Valentino Fois (Ita) Mapei + 2.24
3. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom + 8.32
4. Roland Meier (Sch) Post Swiss s.t.
5. Oskar Camenzind (Sch) Mapei + 9.17
6. Danny Nelissen (Ned) Rabobank + 9.24
7. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mercatone + 9.27
8. Udo Bvlts (Ger) Telekom + 9.31
9. Philipp Buschor (Sch) Saeco + 9.43
10. Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) Festina + 9.47
11. Dirk Baldinger (Ger) Polti + 9.48
12. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom + 9.55
13. Beat Zberg (Sch) Mercatone + 9.58
14. Gianni Faresin (Ita) Mapei + 10.03
15. Pascal Hervi (Fra) Festina + 10.08
Stage 4 Report
Jan Ullrich underlined his superb form ahead of the Tour de
France, powering away on the final climb to win the fourth stage
of the Tour of Switzerland on Friday.
Runner-up in the Tour last year behind Telekom team mate
Bjarne Riis, the 23-year-old German served notice that he might
be ready to go one better this year.
He left his five breakaway partners behind five kilometres from
the finish on the gruelling final climb into Kandersteg high in the
Swiss Alps, crossing 38 seconds clear of Stefano Garzelli and
Michele Bartoli, winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic, was
fourth in the 183-km stage from La Chaux de Fonds one minutes
eight seconds adrift, followed by Oskar Camenzind, the overall
leader after the first two stages.
Some of the race's bigger names made their presence felt for
the first time, defending Swiss champion Peter Luttenberger of
Austria finishing ninth, Riis 13th and Swiss favourite Tony
Despite conceding over three minutes to the winner, Christophe
Agnolutto retained a comfortable advantage of two minutes 24
seconds at the top of the overall rankings ahead of Valentino Fois,
thanks to his overwhelming victory in Thursday's third stage.
Ullrich's effort hoisted him from 57th to third but still left the
1993 world amateur champion more than eight minutes behind
The Tour reaches its midway point on Saturday with a 31.5-km
time-trial around Spiez, which will include a testing climb seven
kms from the finish.
1. Sergei Gontchar (Ukr) Aki 39.30 (47,835km/h)
2. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom s.t.
3. Oskar Camenzind (Sch) Mapei + 0.19
4. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once + 0.29
5. Evgeni Berzin (Rus) Batik + 0.47
6. Beat Zberg (Sch) Mercatone + 0.57
7. Danielle Nardello (Ita) Mapei + 1.05
8. Roland Meier (Sch) Post Swiss + 1.08
9. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) Once + 1.23
10. David Extebarria (Spa) Once + 1.25
1. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino 14.44.26
2. Valentino Fois (Ita) Mapei + 4.01
3. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom + 6.25
4. Oskar Camenzind (Sch) Mapei + 7.27
5. Roland Meier (Sch) Post Swiss + 8.07
6. Alex Z|lle (Sch) Once + 8.30
7. Beat Zberg (Sch) Mercatone + 8.46
8. Udo Bolts (Ger) Telekom + 8.55
9. Danny Nelissen (Ned) Rabobank + 9.04
10. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom + 9.19
Stage 5 Report
Ukraine's Sergei Gontchar denied German Jan Ullrich a second consecutive stage
the Tour of Switzerland by taking Saturday's fifth stage, an individual time
trial, by a whisker.
Both men clocked the same time of 39 minutes 30 seconds around a twisting
31.5-km circuit, Gontchar winning by 27 hundredths
of a second.
Little-known Oscar Camenzind of Switzerland, a surprise winner of Tuesday's
prologue, again impressed by clocking the third best
time 19 seconds behind the leading pair.
Frenchman Christophe Agnolutto managed only 23rd place but nevertheless held on
to his overall lead, 4:01 ahead of
second-placed Valentino Fois of Italy.
Ullrich, runner-up in last year's Tour de France behind Dane Bjarne Riis, his
leader in the Telekom stable, was third a further 2:23
``I knew I wasn't quite ready,'' said Ullrich, who had won Friday's fourth
stage to Kandersteg. ``I'm disappointed with my climbs.''
Officials said they might shorten Sunday's gruelling 254-km sixth stage to
Bosco Gurin because of possible snow.
1. David Extebarria (Spain) 3.55.56
2. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) 0.11
3. Francesco Casagrande (Italy) 0.21
4. Oskar Camenzind (Switzerland) 0.43
5. Felix Carcia Casaa (Spain) 1.02
6. Stefano Garzelli (Italy) 1.06
7. Peter Luttenberger (Austria) 1.09
8. Philipp Buschor (Switzerland) 1.12
9. Roland Meier (Switzerland) 1.55
10. Felice Puttini (Switzerland) s.t.
11. Daniele Nardello (Italy) 2.03
12. Bjarne Riis (Denmark) 2.07
13. Jan Ullrich (Germany) 2.46
14. Jens Heppner (Germany) 2.58
15. Christophe Agnolutto (France) s.t
GC after Stage 6
1. Agnolutto 18.43.18
2. Camenzind 5.14
3. Ullrich 6.15
4. Extebarria 6.20
5. Meier 7.06
6. Garcia Casas 8.02
7. Garzelli 8.05
8. Luttenberger 8.12
9. Buschor 8.14
10. Nardello 8.32
11. Heppner 9.21
12. Danny Nelissen (Netherlands) 9.46
13. Piepoli 9.47
14. Riis 10.02
15. Casagrande s.t.
Stage 6 Report
Spain's David Extebarria won the rainy sixth stage of the Tour of Switzerland
on Sunday but his victory was overshadowed by a crash which could rule his team
mate Alex Zuelle out of the Tour de France.
Zuelle, the world time-trial champion, broke his left collar bone in a crash
during a tricky descent early in the stage, which had to
be shortened 107 kms because of snow storms raging at the top of two climbs.
The Swiss rider was examined by doctors at a hospital in Locarno and was
expected to travel to Barcelona for surgery on the
injured shoulder, which doctors say will require up to six weeks
Zuelle, however, remained undeterred as he left the hospital, insisting he
would be at the start of the French Tour on July 5.
``In a few days I will be back on my bike,'' said Zuelle, who also suffered a
bad crash last week during the Tour du Dauphine and
has a long history of serious falls. ``I'll be there for the start in
The accident also involved world number one Laurent Jalabert, Inigo Cuesta,
Dirk Baldinger, Felice Puttini and Roland Meier.
None of the other riders reported serious injuries.
Extebarria beat Leonardo Piepoli in the final 300 metres of a gruelling 16-km
climb to the finish of the weather-shortened stage
from Biasca. The Spanish rider crossed, hands raised, 11 seconds clear of the
Francesco Casagrande of Italy was third, 21 seconds behind Extebarria, followed
by Switzerland's Oskar Camenzind, who finished
43 seconds adrift but moved up to second place in the overall standings.
With just four stages remaining, Christophe Agnolutto of France comfortably
sustained his overall lead.
Not known as a climber, Agnolutto continued to provide surprises with a solid
15th-place finish in the mountain stage which left
him five minutes 14 seconds clear of Camenzind, who had worn the leader's
yellow jersey fior the first two days before
surrendering it to the Frenchman.
Germany's Jan Ullrich, winner of Friday's fourth stage and runner-up in last
year's Tour de France, is third, six minutes 15 seconds
back after finishing the stage a disappointing 13th behind reigning Tour de
France champion Bjarne Riis of Denmark, his Telekom
The Tour continues on Monday with the 194-km seventh stage through southern
Switzerland from Locarno to Zug.