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72nd Tour de Suisse - ProT

Switzerland, June 14-22, 2008

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Stage 7 - June 20: Gruyères - Lyss, 171km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Gregor Brown

Live coverage starts: 16:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 18:20 CEST

16:29 CEST   
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Tour de Suisse's seventh stage. Expect to see the GC riders conserve themselves on stage seven – 171 kilometres to Lyss – preparing for the mountain time trial tomorrow. Cyclingnews will be soft-footing the accelerator pedal on our rust-bucket after yesterday's testing run.

16:32 CEST   
The front end of this stage was rolling with some climbs, however, the categorised climbs – three of category four – are still to come.

16:33 CEST    96km/75km to go
The escape that formed early in the race had none other than Mister Second on the GC, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas). The Czech was riding with Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) before being tossed like a cigarette butt from a car window (we don't condone this, but darn if it does stink up the car's interior!). With Kreuziger in the escape the High Road led peloton was never going to let the gap grow and the Liquigas professional sat up to let the trio get about its business.

Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) currently have 4'25" with 75km to race.

16:44 CEST    107km/64km to go
Johan Van Summeren is going some great work here. Belgian Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) took his first professional win last year near this time with a stage in the Eneco Tour. The 27 year-old from Lommel, professional since 2003, is as tall as a California Redwood and will add the rock to the escape's roll towards Lyss.

The trio has 5'12" in hand.

Tom Boonen, 27, at a recent press conference
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:47 CEST   
Johan Van Summeren's compatriot, Tom Boonen of Team Quick Step, has put his stamp on the Ster Elektrotoer. Boonen, recently troubled with cocaine inquiries, won the fourth of five stages. Italian Blondie, Enrico Gasparotto, still leads the race.

16:54 CEST   
The 30 year-old Ronny Scholz has been with Team Gerolsteiner since 2001, when he turned professional. He is more of a domestique than a leader, with only four wins to his credit in eight-year career. The last one was Rund um die Nürnberger-Altstadt in 2005.

He is perhaps better known as the "virtual" son-in-law of team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. He and Vanessa Holczer have two children, Fabiano and Filippa, and plan to marry this fall.

17:02 CEST    121km/50km to go
At 62 kilometres remaining, the riders covered the first of the final three categorised climbs: Lobsigen. We are now at 50 kilometres to go, the trio has 3'50" in hand. The riders will climb Lobsigen again in 14 kilometres.

17:03 CEST   
The order over the climb was Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner).

Silence-Lotto's tallest rider Johan Van Summeren
Photo ©: Brecht Decaluwé
(Click for larger image)

17:10 CEST    127km/44km to go
Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) was also the order for the sprint in Lyss (km 116.9). By the way, this area is the German speaking section of Suisse. The UCI will feel right at home in this country as, you may or may not know, all of cycling's fines are given in Suisse Franc. We pay all of our fines with car-wash tokens! Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) might have hit one of those tokens, as he had to stop due a rear wheel flat. The German is chasing back on now.

The gap is 2'30".

17:17 CEST    131km/40km to go
Tom Boonen took a very short break from racing after the announcement of his positive cocaine doping control. After being invited out of the Tour de Suisse, he instead went to the Ster Elektrotoer in the Netherlands. Following a quiet first three stages, the Quick Step sprinter blasted to the mass sprint win today, beating Wouter Weylandt by a good bike length. Gasparotto still leads the GC: "I hope that I will be good in the end, better than April [in the Driedaagse De Panne] because I lost the jersey," 'Gaspa' expressed to Cyclingnews this morning, recalling how he lost the De Panne leadership in the closing time trial stage. "I have a good team; my team-mates are really going strong because most of them are building for the Tour [de France]. I am really calm about today, I know they will work hard and I will be able to defend my seconds."

The gap is falling, now at 2'16".

Thanks for all of your e-mails.

Ronny Scholz
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

17:23 CEST    136km/35km to go
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) leads Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) and Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) through the Lobsigen GPM. The trio's advantage has fallen to under two minutes, at 1'53".

17:24 CEST   
Alexander Vinokourov is apparently in full training for a comeback, and that doesn't make the UCI happy. It is no secret that the Kazakh federation would like to see him in the Beijing Olympics. A UCI legal representative said that if this is true, the international federation will take steps to stop him. Cyclingnews will keep on top of this story for you. (SW)

17:28 CEST   
The peloton has this escape in check and we should see a sprinters' fest in Lyss. That might be a chance for Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC). His team-mate, Cancellara, is looking upset as he takes a drink of water.

17:33 CEST   
It has been seven years since the Tour de Suisse used a mountain time trial, when USA's Lance Armstrong topped the Crans Montana first on his way to win the overall race title. Could the winner of this year's test go on to win the Suisse overall and then the Tour de France? Kim Kirchen (High Road) has a good chance and one rider we are tipping for the race overall is Andreas Klöden (Astana) – the German won't be riding the Tour de France as his team was not invited thanks to his old team-mate, Vinokourov.

17:34 CEST    144km/27km to go
We see Siciliano Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) moving up in the gruppo, which is now 1'27" away from the front runners.

What will Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto), Sébastien Rosseler (Quick Step) and Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) do? One of them will likely hit out in the finale. Van Summeren looks rather itchy.

The race enters is final circuit.

17:36 CEST   
The gruppo comes through at 1'07"! The hammer is about to hit the trio on the head.

17:39 CEST   
Giovanni Lombardi, Vicente Ballester and Fabian Wegmann are celebrating birthdays today. Happy birthday boys. Definitely ex-professional Lombardi will be watching this race, as he is an agent for both of the Schleck brothers.

Fabian Wegmann (not racing in Suisse)
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

17:39 CEST    147km/24km to go
The gap is below one minute, now at 48".

17:47 CEST   
In the final 20km the gap is right at 20".

We see Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) hanging out at the back. The Dutchman noted that his Tour de France participation is in doubt due to flu-like symptoms. We will have more on this later.

17:48 CEST    153km/18km to go
The trio is captured. High Road is leading the gruppo compatto.

17:48 CEST   
It is getting help from Oscar Freire's Rabobank team.

17:54 CEST    159km/12km to go
With 13 kilometres remaining we are bracing ourselves for a group sprint. My driver just found a parking spot here in Lyss and we wait for the riders to come zooming in. The Belgian journalists all seem very sad about Johan Van Summeren (Silence-Lotto) being back into the fold and not being 'home' to see Boonen's win, but we remind them the Tour is coming up, and maybe 'Tommeke' will be there.

17:56 CEST    161km/10km to go
Watch out for Cyclingnews' pick Rockin' Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto). The Aussie is pure class and will want to remind us and everyone else that it was all a lie in the newspapers recently. The Belgians are smiling as McEwen is practically one of their own.

17:57 CEST   
Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) hits out on the final go up the Cat. 4 Lobsigen.

17:58 CEST   
Kazakh Champ Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) is having a go, being chased down by Rocket Man, Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

17:59 CEST    162km/9km to go
This is like a Sunday in Hell as we have Hoste and Cancellara battling off the front of the race.

17:59 CEST   
Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) has ten seconds...

17:59 CEST    163km/8km to go
Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto) is joined by Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) with Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) in tow.

18:00 CEST    164km/7km to go
OH, how this race is changing. The Belgians are really happy now.

18:01 CEST    164km/7km to go
Wow! What a Classic day, Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) hits out. Kim Kirchen (High Road) jumps on his wheel.

18:02 CEST    165km/6km to go
Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) and race leader Kim Kirchen (High Road) join Leif Hoste (Silence-Lotto), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC), Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), making five.

18:02 CEST   
Cancellara hits out from this group! Go Spartacus!

18:02 CEST    166km/5km to go
Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is doing his beset to join up to Kim Kirchen (High Road).

18:03 CEST   
Swiss Cancellara, winner of Milano-Sanremo, has this races strung tight.

18:05 CEST    168km/3km to go
With 4000 metres remaining, Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) is riding his own time trial world championship.

Non other than Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) is joining the mix!

18:05 CEST    169km/2km to go
Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) passes the two kilometre banner with about eight seconds on the peloton.

18:06 CEST   
Our eyes are looking for Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) to make a move.

18:06 CEST    170km/1km to go
Cancellara goes under the red triangle. This is going to be touch and go.

18:07 CEST   
The curves in the finale could help him out. This reminds us of the Sanremo finale.

18:07 CEST   
We are blinded by his sunglasses!

18:07 CEST   
The Swiss has a good gap at 200 metres.

18:08 CEST   
Cancellara gets it! This Swiss is unstoppable!

Second goes to Erik Zabel (Team Milram), we believe. (My driver now has time to pay the parking metre.)

18:13 CEST   
Sure enough, it was German Erik Zabel (Team Milram) who nipped second, some five seconds behind Rocket Man Cancellara. Behind Zabel was Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) and Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner). What an exciting finish!

18:13 CEST   
Kim Kirchen (High Road), very active today, still leads the race overall.

18:16 CEST   
Thanks for following the stage with us today.


1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
General classification after stage 7
1 Kim Kirchen (Lux) High Road

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