65th Tour de Suisse - 2.HC

Switzerland, June 19 - 28, 2001

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Stage 8 - June 26: Sion - Crans Montana ITT, 25.5 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 1413 CEST
Estimated finish time: 1715 CEST

Welcome to this afternoon's live coverage of the stage 8 mountain time trial in the Tour de Suisse. With just two stages to come after this, the 8th stage will probably decide the race. Realistically, the battle will be between the climbers Wladimir Belli, Gilberto Simoni, Lance Armstrong, Manuel Beltran and Georg Totschnig, and the strong time trialists with good form, Laurent Jalabert, Alexandre Vinokourov and Beat Zberg.

The other day during stage 5, Armstrong looked to be in a little difficulty on the St Gotthard Pass. However, this may well have been because he didn't want to go into the red before today's test. Armstrong, at 25 seconds down, is a big favourite to win this tour.

The profile is quite straightforward. Flat for 10 kilometres, followed by a 15 kilometre climb that goes up 1000 metres. It's similar in some respects to stage 11 of the Tour de France.

1515 CEST

The first riders have already come in, and the man with the best time is Belgian Marc Wauters (Rabobank) with 52'05.

1545 CEST

Wauters has had his time bettered by Steve Zampieri (Post Swiss) by two minutes.

US Postal riders Matthew White and Viatcheslav Ekimov post similar times, with White riding 54'46, four seconds quicker than Ekimov.

1550 CEST

Former race leader, Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport) struggles up to Crans Montana with a respectable time of 52'39, enough for 7th place at the moment.

1555 CEST

Domo's Servais Knaven did not start today, reportedly to prepare for his national championships on Sunday.

The top times so far:

1 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Post Swiss           50.05
2 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank            1.07
3 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo        1.55
4 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank                2.01
5 Andrea Noe (Ita) Mapei                     2.07
6 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Lampre-Daikin    2.27
7 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport     2.33

1559 CEST

Italian champion Michele Bartoli comes in with a respectable time of 53'11 - out of the top 10 for the time being.

Austrian Gerrit Glomser (Post Swiss) is just starting. Only 14 riders to start after him.

1606 CEST

Stefano Garzelli (Mapei) is reported to have the quickest time at the first intermediate checkpoint.

Oscar Camenzind (Lampre) rolls out of the start gate.

1619 CEST

Garzelli continues to ride a good tempo, just 5 seconds slower than Zampieri at the 20 kilometre mark. He has just 3 km to go and is looking very quick.

1624 CEST

The big favourite for the Tour de Suisse, Lance Armstrong (USPS) is justs about to start. His teammate, Tyler Hamilton is already a long way up the mountain, posting the fastest intermediate time by 1'09 at the 20 km mark.

Garzelli comes in with a time of 49'59, the fastest yet!

1634 CEST

Tyler Hamilton rides up the final slope over the large "Go US Postal" signs painted on the road. Hamilton almost catches Zulle and hammers up to the finish in a time of 48'45

1639 CEST

Daniel Atienza (Cofidis) and Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) have set the second and third fastest intermediate times behind Hamilton. Atienza is one to watch in the Tour de France.

Armstrong is on the lower part of the climb, looking fairly comfortable and in the small chainring. He is just about to catch his 2 minute man, Manuel Beltran. He rode 10'10 for the first 9 kilometres, just one second quicker than Hamilton.

It's an extremely hot day and riders are drinking regularly.

1645 CEST

Armstrong catches Beltran, who is no slouch on a hill, but the Spaniard appears to be pedalling slower than Armstrong. Other times from the 9 km point have Belli at 6 seconds and Simoni at 10 seconds. However, they will be hoping to make up some ground on the climb...

1650 CEST

At the 20 km intermediate point, Totschnig has improved to be 11 seconds quicker than Hamilton. Lance Armstrong rode past the 14.6 km mark 30 seconds faster than Hamilton. All eyes are on Belli and Simoni.

1655 CEST

Simoni goes through the 14.6 km point 45 seconds slower than Armstrong. Belli is 47 seconds slower, which means that Armstrong is the virtual leader.

Daniel Atienza (Cofidis) looks good, but can't do better than 49.36 which puts him in second for the time being.

Final brief result in the Route du Sud after stage 4.

1703 CEST

Armstrong is 52 seconds in front of Hamilton at the 20 kilometre point, and still is riding smoothly. Georg Totschnig comes in 7 seconds behind Hamilton, and Atienza is at 51 seconds in third place.

Simoni goes though 20 km 48 seconds slower than Armstrong, but 4 seconds faster than Hamilton.

1707 CEST

Alexandre Vinkourov is faster than Atienza at the finish. Belli rides through the 20 kilometre point 1'17 behind Armstrong. He has definitely lost his golden jersey.

1712 CEST

Here comes Armstrong, with easily the fastest time of the day. He finishes in 47'18, a massive 1'26 faster than Hamilton.

Simoni is second fastest, less than half a second quicker than Hamilton. And Belli comes in with 49'17, 5th fastest.

Armstrong is the clear winner, and now leads the Tour de Suisse by 1'05 to Simoni, with Belli in third.

Final Results

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                   47.18.84 (31.83 km/h)
2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                        1.25.83
3 Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal Service                     1.26.17
4 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                         1.33.10
5 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                         1.58.59
6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telekom           2.03.53
7 Daniel Atienza Urendez  (Spa) Cofidis                      2.17.45
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                    2.39.75
9 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                                  2.40.46
10 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Post Swiss Team                      2.47.06
11 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-World Online                   2.51.87

General classification after stage 8

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service                  26.58.25
2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin                          1.05
3 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                           1.43
4 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank                                    2.56
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Deutsche Telekom             2.57
6 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                           3.08
7 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Lampre-Daikin                       3.39
8 Manuel Beltran Martinez  (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step              3.46
9 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-World Online                      3.55
10 Daniel Schnider (Swi) La Francaise Des Jeux                 6.01

Full results & report