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72nd Tour de Suisse - ProT

Switzerland, June 14-22, 2008

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Stage 9 - June 22: Altdorf - Berne, 168km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Bjorn Haake

15:28 CEST   
Gruezi! Cyclingnews brings you the live action from the final stage of the Tour de Suisse. After yesterday's dominating performance it looks as if Roman Kreuziger has sealed overall victory, but he was the first to admit yesterday that with today's hills, it won't be an easy ride and attacks are expected to be flying. So sit back and enjoy!

15:38 CEST    112km/56km to go
Kreuziger looks pretty cool in his yellow jersey - it is a sight we no doubt will get used to see with this talented rider from the Czech Republic.

As for the current race situation, there is a group of five away:
René Weissinger (Team Volksbank)
Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne)
Maarten Tjallingii (Silence - Lotto)
Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)
Darren Lill (BMC Racing Team)

They pedal around two minutes ahead of the Liquigas-led peloton.

15:42 CEST    115km/53km to go
Being in the front group could work out well for Weissinger - he has a small four-point lead over David Loosli in the sprints classification. If he can snack up a few points along the way, he will seal the white jersey. However the lead is only two minutes for now and it is still a good 30 (hilly) kilometres to the first sprint.

15:45 CEST   
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) is moving up now. The Kazakh leads the mountain classification, but is actually tied on points with David Loosli (both 42 points). So Loosli has to fight two battles, but for now it looks as if he will concentrate on the mountain jersey. He is staying with the field including Iglinsky.

15:48 CEST    118km/50km to go
The front group is working its way up the mountain. On the top they will be rewarded with a downhill, but not with mountain points, as this is an unranked uphill. Nonetheless, the top (Affoltern) is at 799 metres. Pretty high for an unranked climb, but then again we are in Switzerland, where they can choose from many mountains!

Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) in the mountains jersey, which doesn't have any dots!
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

15:51 CEST    121km/47km to go
We have a beautiful day here in Switzerland. The riders are casting sharp shadows, as the field is now using a short descent to stretch its legs at 61km/h. The gap to the front runners holds steady at just under two minutes.

Current race situation

  • René Weissinger (Team Volksbank), Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Maarten Tjallingii (Silence - Lotto), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), Darren Lill (BMC Racing Team)
  • peloton at 2.00

15:57 CEST    127km/41km to go
The break is working well together, taking short turns and switching in clock wise rotation. They are taking a right turn and have now some rail road tracks to their right.

The peloton is rather relaxed for the moment, which is why the lead shoots up to 2'20 in no time. A rider from Gerolsteiner and Milram each are leading the charge, followed by the entire team of Liquigas. They are all busy with drinking, which is really important on a warm day like today.

16:00 CEST   
The riders pass a sports facility. There are 100m races going on - on a lawn! Wimbledon is casting its shadow everywhere.

With the recent turn taken, the front group now switches counter-clock wise, with each rider pulling off to the left almost immediately. This way they can keep the pace very high.

16:05 CEST    132km/36km to go
Martin Müller (Team Milram) is close ton the front. He is a typical domestique, who does a tremendous job each day and often doesn't get much recognition from the public, although his team captains surely know how important he is for the team.

The front group passes a bunch of kids, waving little flags. This is the first stage that is rather early, but of course it's a weekend and there is less of a concern to miss people who are still at work. With the beautiful day n that we have here in Switzerland, all the little villages are busy with people up and about. It's fun for the riders to get the encouragement.

Kreuziger and his friend look good in yellow
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Current race situation

  • René Weissinger (Team Volksbank), Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Maarten Tjallingii (Silence - Lotto), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), Darren Lill (BMC Racing Team)
  • peloton at 2.28

16:10 CEST    135km/33km to go
Lampre and Quick Step have also sent one rider to the front. Behind, Liquigas is still there in its entirety. One of them has to remind Kreuziger to get a little further back, as he is now the protected rider. Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is also getting closer to the front. He was passed by Kreuziger yesterday and lost over six minutes!

The gap is down to two minutes again.

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) waits for another good moment to attack
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

16:12 CEST   
Some fans are on the side of the road with a big banner that reads "Hoppi Fäbu" - some encouragement for the local boy Fabian Cancellara, who is hoping to pull off another ride like he did when he won stage 7.

16:17 CEST    140km/28km to go
The Quick Step rider pulling on the front is Hubert Schwab. The workers on the front have to take pulls that are a lot longer than the break's turns, which are still only a few seconds. Despite that, the gap decreases a but moire and is now at 1'56.

The country side they pass is incredible - rolling hills with patches of forests, broken up with small villages or individual farm houses and the inevitable farm land in-between. It is no wonder Cancellara doesn't have problems motivating himself to train here!

16:21 CEST    142km/26km to go
Iglinsky smiles as it's looking good for him - the break will take the points of the mountains away - it's only a cat 4, so all points will go to break, which consists of five riders. Loosli makes his name programme today, as he is about to lose the sprints and the mountains battle!

René Weissinger (Team Volksbank) still leads the sprints classification
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

16:22 CEST   
Lill takes the mountain points ahead of Weissinger and Duclos-Lassalle.

16:25 CEST   
Switzerland is already happy today - they celebrated a triple victory at the MTB World Championships!!! In the men's cross country, Christoph Sauser took the title, with his compatriot Florian Vogel and Ralph Naef taking second and third, respectively.

16:27 CEST    148km/20km to go
The gap is now coming down quickly. The break passes the first sprint in Ittigen. Duclos-Lassalle is the only one who puts up a fight but Weissinger crosses the line in first. This seals the jersey for him!

Tjallingii passes through in third spot.

16:28 CEST   

Current race situation

  • René Weissinger (Team Volksbank), Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Maarten Tjallingii (Silence - Lotto), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), Darren Lill (BMC Racing Team)
  • peloton at 1.26

16:32 CEST    150km/18km to go
Some local boys use the warm weather and are swimming in the river that the riders pass over a bridge. A nice day in Switzerland indeed! For his third place, Tjallingii would get a reward, as his soigneur waits with a bottle, but the Lotto rider doesn't want it.

After 3h37'14, the group passes the finish line for the first time. They still have to do one lap of 18km.

16:32 CEST   
The peloton passes 56 seconds later. The gap has really come down.

16:32 CEST   

Current race situation

  • René Weissinger (Team Volksbank), Francisco Perez Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Maarten Tjallingii (Silence - Lotto), Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone), Darren Lill (BMC Racing Team)
  • peloton at 0.56

16:34 CEST    152km/16km to go
For those who don't want to go to the river and who don't want to see the bike race, the place to be today is one of the swimming pools in Bern - the one the rider just pass is packed!

16:39 CEST    155km/13km to go
The gap is only a measly 37 seconds now.

The second sprint in Bern, and this time Duclos-Lassalle gets it, with Tjallingii again behind him. Perez gets third, While Weissinger didn't bother - he is happy he won the sprints jersey already.

In the mean time, a crash has taken down an Astana rider. Looks like Gregory Rast from Switzerland, who landed hard in the barriers.

16:41 CEST    158km/10km to go
The peloton has no mercy with the five battlers on the front. The gap comes down very rapidly and soon they will be caught. Then we will likely see some counter-attacks. It is still more than 10 km to the finish.

16:42 CEST    159km/9km to go
The leaders pass the same swimming pool again - and go underneath a giant bridge. The peloton is only 16 secs behind now, as the front hits some cobbles.

16:44 CEST   
Old town Bern is very picturesque, but for now the riders are just concentrated on the wheels in front of them.

Perez goes! He doesn't want to get caught.

16:45 CEST    160km/8km to go
The others go after him, but it's pointless now. The peloton is determined and they gobble up the break.

Iglinsky at the front. The KOM is coming up. Where is Loosli?

16:47 CEST   
Iglinsky still by himself. He wins the mountains points and keeps going. Loosli is in second and loses his last chance to take over the mountain jersey.

16:48 CEST    162km/6km to go
Loosli crosses the KOM in second, ahead of Moreno..

Iglinsky is still time trialing some 100m ahead of he field

16:49 CEST    163km/5km to go
He passes a roundabout, but the rest is getting close and shortly after the 5km to go sign, Gutierrez catches up with him.

16:50 CEST    164km/4km to go
Iglinsky sits up, while Gutierrez is joined by a Quick Stepper. Their lead is only some 50m.

16:50 CEST   
Some of the sprinters are already gone, so maybe we see a surprise.

16:51 CEST    165km/3km to go
Another rider moves up to the two leaders, but the peloton is right there, too.

16:52 CEST   
Voila, they are caught. Quick Step and Lotto lead the bunch now.

A tight left hander into a roundabout - be careful now!

16:52 CEST    166km/2km to go
The tight turn is used by a Lotto rider to attack, but it is not much of a gap.

16:53 CEST   
Förster and Zabel are there.

16:53 CEST   
Gilbert goes! He doesn't want to sprint against the Germans!

16:54 CEST   
And who goes after him? Fabian Cancellara!!!

16:54 CEST    167km/1km to go
Gilbert tries to stay away, but the Swiss rider is coming up strongly, encouraged by the locals.

16:55 CEST   
Gilbert turns around and worries as he sees Cancellara coming up.

The peloton cannot come to terms with the attack of the Belgian and the Swiss.

16:55 CEST   
A few hundred metres. Gilbert is still ahead but Spartacus closes in.

16:56 CEST   
Gilbert goes out of the saddle and tries to squeeze the last ounce of energy out of his tired legs. He stays to the left hand side of the road.

16:57 CEST   
And there comes Cancellara! He gets into the slipstream of Gilbert, then comes out and passes him on right!

16:58 CEST   
Another great and incredible victory by Cancellara, but he is exhausted and sits down immediately.

What a ride by the Swiss!

17:12 CEST   
So this is it for this year's Tour de Suisse. Cancellara wins in his hometown of Bern. Kreuziger takes the overall after his stunning time trial yesterday. Weissinger gets the sprints jersey. Cancellara the points jersey and Iglinsky wins the mountains classification.

Cancellara said that "nobody made it easy. Gilbert had a good gap already. Winning where i grew up is special."

Thanks for joining us and we hope you will be back for Le Tour de France, starting July 5!!!!

Provisional results

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux
3 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    0.04
4 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step                   0.05
5 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner

Final general classification

1 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas                                  
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana                                         0.49
3 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                      1.55
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre                                         2.11
5 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team High Road                                2.37
6 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                         2.57
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team High Road                                    2.58
8 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                    4.08
9 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram                                   4.18
10 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank                                     4.26

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