72nd Tour de Suisse - ProT
Switzerland, June 14-22, 2008
Results & report
Stage 8 - June 21: Altdorf - Col du Klausen (ITT), 25km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Bjorn Haake
Hello and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage from the Tour de Suisse. Today the riders face a short 25-kilometre time trial. Short is not necessarily a good thing, as the organisers decided to make up the lack of horizontal kilometres with some vertical ones. The race will end on the Klausenpass, at an altitude of 1948 metres!
Kirchen likes the yellow touch on his High Road outfit
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
Let's have a look at the overall classification. Right now, Kim Kirchen leads the race by 27 seconds over Roman Kreuziger and 33 seconds ahead of former leader Igor Anton. Stijn Devolder is in fourth, 46 seconds back. High Road completes the top five via Thomas Lövkvist. Most in the top five can produce a good time trial, but with it being uphill things get even more interesting. Here are the top 10 overall:
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team High Road 30.41.42
2 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 0.27
3 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0.33
4 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 0.46
5 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team High Road 0.56
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 0.58
7 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 1.04
8 Sergei Ivanov (Rus) Astana 1.06
9 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 1.13
The riders start in one-minute intervals until 17:00, then the gap is two minutes between riders. The last to go is of course Kim Kirchen, as they start in the reverse order of the overall classification. The Luxemburger will roll down the ramp at 17:40.
Andreas Klöden (Astana) has been looking better in yesterday's stage than in the first couple of mountain days. He is a strong time trialer, but if it will be enough against a determined Kirchen remains to be seen. Klöden trails by 58 seconds and it is certainly not insurmountable on an uphill time trial like today. But it would also mean that not only Kirchen, but the other top-five riders will have to have a bad day.
There's another race going on today, or at least, there was, up in the Netherlands. The Ster Elektrotoer has come to an end today, and Mark Cavendish of Team High Road won the mass sprint for his sixth win of the season. The overall win went to Barloworld's Enrico Gasparotto.
Let's look at today's course. The race starts at an altitude of a good 400 metres. The 25 kilometres are entirely uphill, except for two very, very short sections, at around kilometre 3.5 and 11.5. The intermediate times are taken at km 9.1 and 18.9. The finish at the Klausenpass is an hors-category climb - when do you see the KOM in a stage race trying to contend for a time trial victory to add points to his polka dot jersey? David Loosli and Maxim Iglinsky are equal on points!
The weather is very pleasant today and the views are gorgeous - as we look around the mountains we can see snow on top of the peaks, but the conditions on the top should be OK for the riders.
Currently, José Rujano Guillen (Caisse d'Epargne) leads the competition, with practically a one hour flat - 1h00'38'49, to be precise.
But Rujano's time is in danger now. Power man Jens Voigt has reached the first intermediate check with a 19'36 and that gives him the best time so far after 9.1km.
German Jens Voigt (Team CSC) speaks English well, but doesn't seem to know the word 'slow'
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
Voigt is passing his one-minute man Matthias Frank of Gerolsteiner. No time to exchange a few German words as Voigt stomps on those pedals. Frank wouldn't mind a bit of small talk - he smiles and waves to the camera, enjoying the day rather than suffering. For Voigt, enjoying *means* suffering.
Tschopp rides past a few spectators who have made it up three quarters of the climb to watch the riders go by. Tschopp is doing a good ride and has the second best time at the second check.
Just as we say this Voigt blasts by the second check. He passes mountain leader Maxim Iglinsky. But he only manages the second best time, with a 42'23. So he is about half a minute slower than Rujano.
Andy Schleck is on the start ramp. His brother Frank is already underway - he started almost thirty minutes ahead of his younger brother.
Steve Zampieri gets to the finish. Chapeau, the Swiss rider is in second for now, behind climber Rujano.
We are getting to the top riders now. Andreas Klöden (Astana) is on the start ramp - he is in a good mood and chokes with the officials at the start ramp. But when he starts he makes clear the kidding around is over - it looks powerful.
Cunego makes his way up next to the stream coming down, while Thomas Lövkvist (Team High Road) starts as the first of the top five.
Tschopp hits the finish line and puts Zampieri into third place - the Frenchman has 1h03'43.
Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is underway. He has the aero bars mounted - we wonder how often he will be able to use them.
And Kim Kirchen (Team High Road) starts - the last to go. At almost the same time, Jens Voigt hits the line. He is weaving left and right and gets a 1h01'57.
Despite his waving earlier when Voigt passed him, Frank is actually producing a decent ride. He is sixth for now, with a 1h05'26.
Kirchen in yellow looks good. He too has put on aero bars, but is currently unable to use them. He grabs the handlebar on the outside, pedaling along smoothly.
Igor Anton looks smooth on the climb - he feels right at home with the gradient. He passes a few Swiss people, who are sitting on the side of the road, in the shade of a few trees, enjoying their pic-nic.
Klöden comes through at the first check with the third best time! He has a 19'48.
Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval - Scott) hits the finish line - he gets 1h04'12 and fourth place. A nice ride by Rubens.
Devolder comes through the first check with the 11th time, a good 40 seconds off the pace set by Voigt, who still holds the best time at the first check.
Morabito finishes with a 1h03'46 and gets fourth.
Kreuziger sets a new bets time at the first check!!! He is a staggering 23 seconds faster than Voigt! If he can hold this pace it will be an interesting end to the stage!
Kreuziger does not have aero bars - he is banking on the additional weight saving and the fact that there are not very many sections where the aero bars are beneficial.
Kirchen comes through the first check - he is losing big time! With a 20'06, he is already almost a minute behind Kreuziger!
Schleck is the next one who cannot unseat Rujano. But the Luxemburger gets a 1h01'48. Of course, he has his jersey completely unzipped again.
In the mean time, Cunego rides up, while others are coming down. But it looks safe, as he pedals up on the left hand side of the road. He is in fact pedaling very fast - second place on the second check now, 25 seconds behind Rujano!
Everybody has passed the first check now. Kreuziger looks set to get into the overall lead. Klöden looks good, too. He takes a drink and even though the road is uphill, he actually uses his aero bars. He, too, rides on the left hand side of the road, which is good, as more amateur riders make it down on the other side of the road.
We hope that Cunego does not suffer from vertigo, as to his right, it goes down steep! There is a bit of a railing on the side, but it looks flimsy.
However, Klöden does not look flimsy. Best time at the second check, nine seconds ahead of Rujano!!!
There are a ton of people further up. We see caravans, tents, Swiss flags and self-made flags to encourage the riders on. Currently, it is Cunego enjoying the enthusiasm as he makes his way up to the finish.
Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) gets a 1h03'12 and is fourth - for now. He must have suffered a lot - he has stuff all over his mouth - we spare you the details of it, though.
Cunego passes Knees, his one-minute man. Actually a good ride by the German. But Kreuziger is even better - he is 33 seconds faster than Klöden at the second check!
Cunego gets to the finish with a 1h01.16, second for now.
Kirchen has passed the second check - a staggering two minutes and 16 seconds after Kreuziger! The Luxemburger is not enjoying today's stage.
OK, now it gets a bit annoying with some of the amateur riders. Kreuziger rides past one of them who holds himself up on the railing. They pass each other fairly closely. Another rider Kreuziger passes his Devolder! The Czech rider is possessed today!
Andy Schleck reaches the flamme rouge just ahead of Klöden - but the German started two minutes later!
Kreuziger is currently pedaling in the shade, with the sun in the west already ready to set on this beautiful late afternoon in Switzerland. The riders see snow to their right, but they are certainly not cold up here.
Klöden finally passes Schleck with 300m to go, but Andy is hanging tough now.
Klöden is getting desperately close to the time of Rujano. It will be very close - 100m still. Can the Astana rider do it?
No!!! Klöden misses Rujano's time by one second - unbelievable. 1.5 seconds, to be precise!
Kreuziger is sweating like crazy on this warm afternoon in Switzerland. Lövkvist is gritting his teeth - he gets sixth for now!
Kirchen is sweating like crazy, just as Kreuziger. But the latter has sweat of joy, gong out of the saddle and looking good. Kirchen is labouring and loses more time. He will have to say good-bye to his yellow jersey today.
Kreuziger has Antón in his sights!!! Amazing.
But they are close to the finish. Anton saves himself across the finish. But Kreuziger is close behind and gets the best time by some 15 seconds!
Devolder is losing over six minutes! He gets 40-something.
Kirchen reaches the flamme rouge. Another kilometre of suffering.
Kirchen sprints to the finish. He is out of the saddle, He may have lost the race, but he will fight until the end and rewards the spectators with some spectacle. He gets 15th place, with a 1h03'47
Roman Kreuziger produced the ride of his life and he called it the "greatest victory as a pro." But he expects the battle to continue tomorrow - however, he seems ready for it. Thanks for joining our live coverage at Cyclingnews and we hope to see you tomorrow for the final stage in Switzerland, where the decision of this year's race will have to come in the ride around Bern. Expect Fabian Cancellara to be super motivated in his hometown area!
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