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69th Tour de Suisse - PT

Switzerland, June 11-19, 2005

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Stage 6 - June 16: Bürglen UR - Arosa, 158.7 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

14:45 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews for our live coverage of the sixth stage of the Tour de Suisse. Today we're heading into the high mountains, with 159 km between Bürglen UR and Arosa on the menu. There are only two categorised climbs today, but they're biggies: the hors categorie Oberalp Pass (2046m) after 44 km, the Cat. 3 climb to Flims (km 103), and the Cat. 1 climb up to Arosa (1700m), which comes just a couple of kilometres from the finish.

Today's intermediate time/bonus sprints are clustered together: at Domat/Ems (km 120), and between Chur and Maladers (km 129). There's also a Würth sprint (no bonus seconds) at Chur (km 128).

Today's stage is the next important test for race leader Jan Ullrich, who showed he has the necessary form in the time trial, but now wants to prove himself in the mountains. As do his rivals.

15:12 CEST    73.7km/85km to go
The story so far...

146 riders started in Bürglen, with Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC) not signing on. Freire is still suffering from a saddle sore problem, and needs time to let it heal properly. He's not doing the Tour.

The first attack came after 8 km with Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Niki Aebersold (Phonak), Linus Gerdemann (CSC), Matej Mugleri (Liquigas), Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner), David Loosli (Lampre), Freddy Bichot (FDJ) and Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears). They stayed 30 seconds ahead of the T-Mobile led peloton.

Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner) got across, as did Kolobnev (Rabobank), and Elmiger (Phonak), and there were 17 riders ahead of the peloton after 18 km. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) abandoned after 20 km, followed by Tobias Steinhauser (T-Mobile) and Cedric Herve (CA). The group came back with T-Mobile still chasing, but Niki Aebersold (Phonak) und David Loosli tried again after 21 km. Aebersold couldn't hang on and Loosli was joined by Iban Mayo Diez and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel), Jose Luis Arrieta (Illes Balears), Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), and Daniel Schnider (Phonak), and this group of six got to the top of the Oberalp Pass with a 2'38 lead over the peloton. Laiseka was first over, followed by Loosli and Arrieta.

On the descent, the gap has opened out to 3'05.

15:15 CEST    76.7km/82km to go
The leaders have flown on the descent, keeping their gap at 3'00 or so. T-Mobile is controlling the tempo behind, but groups of riders have already started to go off the back and form a "sprinters bus".

Juan Carlos Dominguez (Saunier) has abandoned.

15:20 CEST   
Jesus Hernandez (Liberty Seguros) had tried to get across to the leaders on the climb, but failed. He's now back in the peloton.

15:29 CEST    93.7km/65km to go
The gap has steadily increased up to 3'40 as these six riders fly towards the final climbs of the day. Daniel Schnider started the day at 15th at 2'17 and is thus the virtual leader of the Tour de Suisse. Mayo is also well placed at 22nd, 2'54 behind Ullrich.

15:41 CEST    99.7km/59km to go
The gap remains steady as the front six get close to the Cat. 3 climb at Flims (km 103). The sprinters bus is now 5 minutes behind the peloton, which is in turn 3'40 behind the break.

15:46 CEST    101.7km/57km to go
The T-Mobile team has started to turn the screws a bit, and the gap falls to 3'01. Schnider is still the virtual leader, but by only 44 seconds.

15:49 CEST    104.7km/54km to go
There's a bit of a sprint for the mountain sprint at Flims, as Loosli and Laiseka take first and second, with Schnider third. That means Laiseka, who won the HC climb earlier, is the virtual mountains leader. Ivan Mayo hasn't been at his brilliant best on the climbs today (he was last over the Overalp Pass) but he is clearly getting back there.

15:53 CEST    108.7km/50km to go
The leaders continue their effort in front of the peloton, which is now led by Gerolsteiner, T-Mobile, and Francaise des Jeux. They're sitting on 70 km/h on the way down to Trin.

15:57 CEST    111.7km/47km to go
Wrolich stretches himself out on a small descent and gets a bit of a gap over the peloton, but he just uses it to stretch his legs and back. The gap is now under 3 minutes, 2'50 to be exact.

15:59 CEST    112.7km/46km to go
Quick.Step is also working, with Tom Boonen and Cristian Moreni putting themselves at the service of Rogers. Eisel is working for Francaise des Jeux, Aldag and Ivanov for T-Mobile, and Wrolich for Gerolsteiner. It's now 2'30 and falling fast!

16:02 CEST   
The six leaders (David Loosli (Lampre), Iban Mayo Diez and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel), Jose Luis Arrieta (Illes Balears), Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), and Daniel Schnider (Phonak)) are now just 2'23 ahead of the flying peloton as they hit 73 km/h on the second half of the descent into Trin.

It's another beautiful day today - the sun is out, blue skies, cows in the paddock. It's all good.

16:03 CEST    116.7km/42km to go
Mayo gets a bottle for Laiseka, who is probably climbing better today. They won't have too much of a lead once they hit the final climb. Schnider is just about out of the virtual yellow, as the gap is 2'18.

16:07 CEST    118.7km/40km to go
The leaders pass the sprint at Domat/Ems with Arrieta and Schnider having a bit of a battle for it. Looks like Arrieta might have got it. Atienza was third.

Schnider is now well out of the virtual yellow now, as the gap is 1'52. How much is a virtual yellow worth? Probably less than a verbal contract.

16:12 CEST    122.7km/36km to go
The leaders, one of which (Loosli) who has been away since 8 km, are now on the verge of being swallowed by the peloton. The gap is 1'20 and it looks like they won't have much at all before the final climb. Moreni is still working hard, with Ivanov and Aldag in the peloton.

16:14 CEST    123.7km/35km to go
Mayo looks a bit knackered as he sits on the back of the break, getting a bit of help from the Illes Balears car. 1'04 now, as Eisel does another strong turn in the peloton.

16:15 CEST   
Speaking of T-Mobile, Erik Zabel isn't in their official list for the Tour de France. It looks like it'll be all for Jan this year (even though Zabel could be fairly handy in the mountains).

16:16 CEST    125.7km/33km to go
The leaders are still working well together, but Mayo is looking back a lot.

16:17 CEST   
Steinhauser's abandon today was because of bronchitis. It's a pity for Ullrich, as Steinhauser is his good friend and he also happens to have the same bike size.

16:19 CEST    127.7km/31km to go
The leaders ride through Chur, turning left and right, then come up to the Würth sprint, which is taken by Schnider from Arrieta and Mayo. They only have 38 seconds on the peloton.

16:21 CEST    128.7km/30km to go
The road starts to climb and Schnider puts the power down, not enough to drop anyone, but enough to make them hurt. It won't matter, as the bunch is coming up fast. They hit another sprint, this one for bonus seconds, and Mayo sits up. He's had enough for the day.

Schnider leads out and takes the sprint from Laiseka and Loosli.

16:22 CEST   
The climb starts immediately, with some light cobbles and a narrow road. The five remaining leaders have just 22 seconds. Schnider opts for the footpath as he goes with Arrieta. The other three drop back.

16:23 CEST    129.7km/29km to go
The average grade of the climb is only 4.1%, but it's for 26.7 km! The steepest part is 14.6%, and even now it's fairly steep at 10%.

Jan himself is leading the peloton at 18 seconds. 17. 16.

Arrieta is alone in front. 15 seconds.

16:24 CEST   
Atienza claws his way back to Arrieta on this very steep part of the Arosa climb. Schnider, Loosli, and Laiseka are following at 5 seconds, then the bunch at another 12.

16:25 CEST   
Glomser (Lampre) attacks the peloton in pursuit of the five leaders. He wasn't looking too good yesterday, but might be better today. Voigt comes up to him, then the peloton, led by Guerini and Ullrich.

16:27 CEST    130.7km/28km to go
Plenty of riders are being shelled out of the peloton now, as it heads through a few tunnels. It looks like Laiseka and co. are coming back, while Arrieta and Atienza still have 15 seconds.

Glomser and Voigt are caught.

16:28 CEST    130.7km/28km to go
Chris Horner (Saunier) attacks next, with Voigt chasing him down and the rest of the peloton thinning out in pursuit. The gap to Atienza, who has now passed Arrieta, is 19 seconds.

Laiseka and Schnider are caught.

16:30 CEST    131.7km/27km to go
Horner gets company from Gonzalez Rios (Illes Balears), with Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo) trying to get up to them. They trail Atienza by about 10 seconds.

16:31 CEST   
Now we have four leaders: Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Gonzalez Rios (Illes Balears), and Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo). There's still 27 km to go though. The peloton is at 24 seconds.

16:32 CEST    132.7km/26km to go
Ullrich and Guerini are riding at the front of the peloton, just behind a Phonak rider.

Atienza is dropped as Nibali forces the tempo in front. It's quite steep here. Yep, Atienza is gone.

16:34 CEST    132.7km/26km to go
The peloton is now about 25 riders strong, with Ullrich and Guerini following the Phonak rider. Rogers and McGee are up there too. McGee was only 2 seconds behind Ullrich at the start of the day, so he might try to get that back today. If he can.

16:35 CEST    133.7km/25km to go
Horner now does a turn in the front group, which has 26 seconds. They're working well together.

Gussev (CSC) is suffering, and has been shelled from the peloton.

16:36 CEST   
Koldo Gil and Jesus Hernandez (Liberty Seguros) are bringing up the rear of the Ullrich group, which is not doing much except losing time to the leaders. It's 35 seconds now.

16:37 CEST    134.7km/24km to go
Nibali attacks the leaders! That's early, but he's obviously feeling good. He's got a really laid back position on the bike, but he's using his long thighs to good advantage on this climb. Horner and Gonzalez Rios can't follow the Italian.

16:39 CEST   
Nibali now has 48 seconds as he powers away at 28 km/h. He reaches a tunnel - now 50 seconds! The Ullrich group had better wake up.

16:42 CEST    136.7km/22km to go
Some names in the Ullrich group: Ullrich, Guerini, Rogers, McGee, B. Zberg, Valjavec, Moos, Schnider, Voigt, Schleck, Kirchen, Frigo, Jeker, Piepoli, Evans, Totschnig, Atienza, Bellotti, Perez, Barry, Sinkewitz, Montgomery, Loosli, Arrieta, Osa, I Flores, Aitor Gonzalez, Hernandez, Gil.

Horner and Gonzalez Rios are 13 seconds behind Nibali, while the yellow jersey sits at 1'07!

16:43 CEST   
Nibali started the day at 3'17, so if he continues like this, he'll get close to yellow.

Horner and Gonzalez Rios have pegged the Italian back to 7 seconds on a flatter part of the climb. Peloton at 1'14.

16:44 CEST    137.7km/21km to go
Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) attacks! He's had enough of this tempo, but he's coming back now. The group stretches...

16:44 CEST   
Gussev is making his way back as Rogers is caught. Guerini is now on the front.

16:45 CEST    138.7km/20km to go
Guerini looks reasonably comfy as he sets the pace with Ullrich and McGee in tow.

Nibali has increased his lead to 9 seconds and 1'20 over the Ullrich group. Nice riding by the young Italian.

16:46 CEST    138.7km/20km to go
Nibali is using his time trialling skills to great effect, and hammers on a flat section of the climb, putting Ullrich's group back to 1'40! He's halfway to the yellow jersey.

16:48 CEST    139.7km/19km to go
Guerini is looking for a bit of help in the peloton, but he has Kirchen on his wheel now, who obviously won't work with Nibali up the road.

Rabobank's Niermann attacks now.

Horner has closed the gap to Nibali. Gonzalez Rios is at 10 seconds.

16:49 CEST    140.7km/18km to go
All hell is breaking loose in the peloton now as Niermann, Kirchen, Voigt, and a Phonak rider get a bit of a gap. It's not too steep here. The two leaders are up to 1'56!

16:50 CEST   
Guerini is back on the front of the peloton, reducing the gap to 1'49. Gussev is hanging onto last wheel.

16:52 CEST    141.7km/17km to go
Voigt and Elmiger attack the bunch now, and get a decent sized gap. But Elmiger doesn't want to work.

16:53 CEST    142.7km/16km to go
Voigt and Elmiger make good their escape, with the German doing most of the work. They have the gap at 1'42 now to Nibali and Horner. Gonzalez Rios is still in between.

16:54 CEST    143.7km/15km to go
Voigt continues to drive as the road undulates a bit. They are at 1'39 behind the two leaders. No sign of the rest of the peloton now.

16:56 CEST    144.7km/14km to go
The cooperation between Horner and Nibali is good, as they have Voigt/Elmiger at 1'38 and the Ullrich bunch at 1'55. That could be enough to stay away.

16:57 CEST   
Gonzalez Rios is not losing too much time though - he's third on the road at about 20 seconds.

16:59 CEST    146.7km/12km to go
The leading pair are now 20 seconds ahead of Gonzalez Rios, 1'39 ahead of Voigt/Elmiger, and 2'01 ahead of the Guerini led peloton, where Valjavec, McGee, and Evans are holding the next three positions. Ullrich is a bit further back, and Guerini looks back for him.

17:00 CEST    147.7km/11km to go
Ullrich is sitting in about 10th wheel, just behind Rogers. Guerini keeps working, but he's losing time. 2'11 now. Another minute and Nibali will be in yellow. It's possible!

17:01 CEST   
Actually, Horner will be in yellow, as he started 8 seconds ahead of Nibali on GC (at 3'09).

17:02 CEST    148.7km/10km to go
But they need to get that extra minute first :-)

Voigt is getting no help from Elmiger as he hangs 30 seconds in front of the peloton but 1'43 behind the two leaders (three if you count Gonzalez Rios).

17:04 CEST    149.7km/9km to go
Guerini is doing all the work in the peloton, and it's just enough to stop the gap from going up too much. The climb will get steeper towards the end, but now it's still fairly "flat".

Gonzalez Rios is 1'01 behind the two leaders.

17:04 CEST    150.7km/8km to go
Horner gesticulates wildly. He wants Nibali to do a bit more work. The two reach 8 km to go.

17:05 CEST   
Horner attacks as Nibali cramps a bit. The American is alone now.

17:05 CEST    150.7km/8km to go
Nibali is history. Horner should win the stage! He'll move himself up nicely on GC too, but the yellow will probably be out of reach.

17:07 CEST    151.7km/7km to go
Seven kilometres to go for Horner, who is en route to a big win. Nibali is not coming back, Gonzalez Rios is still at 1'01, Voigt and Elmiger are at 1'26, and the peloton is dangling at 2'09, with Nardello and Schreck leading now. Jeez, where did they come from?

17:09 CEST    152.7km/6km to go
The peloton has three magenta jerseys working in front, with Ullrich back in 10th or 12th wheel. But they're not going to get Chris Horner, who still has 2'06 over the peloton and 1'37 on Voigt/Elmiger with 6 km to go. Now it gets hard.

17:11 CEST    153.7km/5km to go
The bunch is losing time as it hits the final part of the climb with 5 km to go. The gap is still 2'09 and the peloton figuratively explodes.

Elmiger and Voigt are catching Gonzalez Rios, but Horner rides 1'40 in front.

17:12 CEST   
Elmiger now does a turn, and drops Voigt as he catches Gonzalez Rios. But they are only 20 seconds ahead of Ullrich's group.

17:13 CEST    154.7km/4km to go
Gil attacks the peloton, with Jeker in pursuit. They catch Voigt, and will catch the other two soon.

Jeker forces the tempo with Rogers leading the bunch. Ullrich is up there though.

Horner has 2'00 on the peloton.

17:15 CEST    155.2km/3.5km to go
Horner is still pedalling well, but losing time now as the Ullrich group cranks it up. The American has about 4 km to go and 1'42 lead. No sign of Nibali - not sure if he's recovered from his cramps.

Gil attacks the Ullrich group again, and gets Piepoli for company. He shouldn't work, with Horner up the road.

17:16 CEST    155.7km/3km to go
Aitor Gonzalez is the next to attack, trying to get up to Piepoli and Gil. He does. Ullrich hasn't done a hell of a lot yet, except follow. Jeker and Rogers lead him.

17:18 CEST    155.7km/3km to go
Horner has a good 1'30 on Nibali, who is not going to catch him now. 1'45 back is the group with Gil, Aitor, and Piepoli, then the Ullrich group at another 10 seconds.

17:19 CEST   
Jeker attacks the Ullrich group now and Rogers and Schleck follow, but Ullrich has to let the gap go! And McGee too.

17:20 CEST    157.7km/1km to go
Piepoli looks back and sees Jeker coming up to them, as Gil and Aitor Gonzalez keep working. Jeker has Schleck, Rogers, and Valjavec with him. Rogers in yellow? Could happen.

No, here's Ullrich, McGee and Sinkewitz just a few seconds behind.

17:20 CEST   
Horner has just 1 km to go and has a comfy lead over Nibali. The Saunier Duval man will win the stage! Great riding!

17:22 CEST    158.7km/0km to go
Horner rides down the finish straight, looks back, and sees that he has a good gap. He rests his arms on the tops to get the most out of his position, checking several times to see if Nibali has come back, but the Italian hasn't, and Horner can celebrate a great stage win! Maybe he's booked his Tour ticket today!

17:24 CEST   
Ullrich has cranked it up and Sinkewitz and McGee are back on his wheel. He'll lose yellow.

Nibali comes in at 1'11, then Rogers third right behind. Ullrich's group comes in at 1'47 and it's Michael Rogers who takes yellow!

17:29 CEST   
That's official now: Rogers has the overall lead by 20 seconds, with McGee in third at 22 seconds. And Horner has a very nice stage win.

That's all from us today - we'll be back at the same CN-time tomorrow for stage 7. Until then.


1 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        4.24.43
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                               1.12
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                                   1.14
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                    
5 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team              
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                    
7 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                     
8 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                          
9 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           
10 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                  1.48
11 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux                           
12 Patrick Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step                              
13 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo                                 

General classification after stage 6

1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                               21.28.40 
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   0.20
3 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux                            0.22
4 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           1.11
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                      1.27
6 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           1.31
7 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                            1.38
8 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                       1.39
9 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                  1.42
10 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                    1.57

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