69th Tour de Suisse - PT
Switzerland, June 11-19, 2005
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Stage 3 - June 13: Abtwil/Säntispark - St. Anton a.A., 160 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST
This week, by popular demand, the
Hindenburg IV is back to cover the 69th Tour de Suisse live. We apologise
for not doing justice to the Dauphine Libéré last week, but cloning technology
has only come so far, and we decided against having Dolly the Sheep man the
controls of our dirigible.
After an interesting opening weekend to
the Tour de Suisse, today's third stage will see the climbers test their legs
for the first time, with the Cat. 2 ascent of the Albergpass (1793m) coming
with just 8 km to go in this 160 km stage between Abtwil/Säntispark and St.
Anton, across the Austrian border. It's the only climb of the day and although
it's not a mountain top finish, the descent shouldn't change things too drastically.
We shall see.
The stage also passes along the Bodensee (Lake Constance),
where race leader Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) now makes his home. Jan's priority
is not to defend the yellow jersey, but he will enjoy wearing it on home turf.
14:41 CEST 52km/108km to go
There were two non-starters
this morning: Guennadi Mikhailov (Discovery Channel) and Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step,
suffering from stomach problems). That has reduced the field to 157 riders.
The weather at the start was not great, with rain and wind greeting the peloton,
but it seems to be clearing up a bit now.
The attacks started from
the gun with Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) making the first move, which was
brought back. He was followed by David Loosli (Lampre-Caffita) and Cédric Hervé
(Crédit Agricole) who went after 3 km, with a similar result. Loosli was obviously
keen to get away, as he attacked again after 8 km, but didn't last long.
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Discovery Channel) attacked
after 10 km, lasted 2 km in front before they were caught. In the meantime,
Nico Mattan and Gert Steegmans (Davitamon-Lotto) both had mechanical problems.
As Phonak controlled the peloton, Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and Alessandro
Bertolini (Domina Vacanze) were the next to try after 13 km, and lasted 25 km
in front before they came back.
Discovery Channel's Jason McCartney,
who finished 16th in the TT yesterday, had mechanical problems but was brought
back to the peloton. T-Mobile took over the pace making and set a high tempo,
which has so far succeeded in nullifying any further attacks. Jörg Ludewig (Domina
Vacanze), Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues) and Antonio
Colom Mas (Illes Balears) went after 47 km, but were brought back 4 km later.
The peloton, for the time being, is together.
14:44 CEST 54km/106km to go
The T-Mobile controlled
peloton is now riding close to the Austrian border. The race will cross over
it in about 23 km.
14:51 CEST 60km/100km to go
The bunch flies through
St. Margrethen at high speed. No-one has bothered to disturb the rhythm of T-Mobile
recently, as it seems nothing is being allowed to go away. Ullrich is safely
near the front of the peloton.
15:02 CEST 66km/94km to go
No changes as the
bunch gets nearer to crossing the Austrian border. The first Postfinance sprint
is coming up in about 15 km. There used to be two separate sprint competitions
in the Tour de Suisse, but it seems as though the Feldschlosschen sprints have
been dropped this year.
15:11 CEST 75km/85km to go
The rain clouds begin
to clear at last as the peloton continues its journey east. Still no attacks
of note to report.
15:18 CEST 80km/80km to go
The peloton rumbles
through the feed zone at Oberriet, and there is the usual chaos as riders look
for their team soigneurs to grab their all-important musettes.
15:32 CEST 88km/72km to go
It's all T-Mobile,
all the time, with Jan Ullrich safely protected in the yellow jersey. The race
has now entered Austrian territory.
15:41 CEST 94km/66km to go
It's looking like
the attacks will not happen today until the final climb. There has been no early
break to reel in, and T-Mobile has complete control of the bunch for the time
being. The field is now heading through Feldkirch. We're also quite close to
15:48 CEST 104km/56km to go
T-Mobile is setting
a pretty serious pace on the front courtesy of Rolf Aldag and Steffen Wesemann,
as Stephan Schreck comes up to give them bidons. The bunch covered 51 km in
the first hour, which gives you an idea of the speed. The second hour was ridden
at 44 km/h.
It's decent enough weather now - the roads are nice and
dry and the sun is more or less out.
15:50 CEST 107km/53km to go
Ullrich is not close
to the front at the moment, as he stretches and chats with Linus Gerdemann (CSC).
At the back, Chris Horner is changing jerseys. Not easy at 45 km/h.
15:52 CEST 108km/52km to go
Horner fixes up his
radio, puts a helmet on and gets a madison handsling from the team car to bring
him back to the peloton. There wasn't even a turbo bottle involved there!
Speaking of which, Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step) was penalised 42 seconds for
drafting off Jan Ullrich for an extended period in the time trial. That will
cost him his 10th place.
15:55 CEST 110km/50km to go
Aldag continues to
lead the peloton, which has six T-Mobile riders in front. Behind him, Wesemann
gets some help from Nardello to take his shoe covers off. Francaise des Jeux
is well placed behind the T-Mobile boys.
16:02 CEST 114km/46km to go
The riders are now
starting to climb, gently at first, but in total they have to reach nearly 1800m
above sea level from their current altitude of 600m. The Arlbergpass is still
only rated as a Cat. 2 climb.
No-one is looking like attacking at
the moment. Everyone is content to let T-Mobile set the pace until the climb.
Ullrich slides up the right hand side of the peloton where he finds a teammate,
who gives him something to munch on. He gives it back.
16:05 CEST 116km/44km to go
back to the T-Mobile car for some more munchies. The boys are getting hungry
Ullrich is now near the front of the T-Mobile train, next
to Big Kev Hulsmans, who is checking out the scenery.
16:06 CEST 117km/43km to go
Rolf Aldag is showing
exactly how useful he can be as he rides in front, with Steffen Wesemann following.
Wesemann seems to prefer the flapping jersey look.
16:08 CEST 118km/42km to go
Liquigas takes over
just before the sprint at Bludenz. Albasini and Clerc go for it, and it looks
like Clerc got it.
16:10 CEST 119km/41km to go
It was the Phonak
rider, Aurelien Clerc, who won the sprint from Albasini and Rast. They are joined
by Bernhard Eisel, Robbie McEwen, and Markus Zberg and a couple of others to
form a little break.
16:12 CEST 120km/40km to go
The break has Rast,
Clerc (Phonak), Eisel (FDJ), Albasini, Colli, Mugerli (Liquigas), McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto),
and M. Zberg (Gerolsteiner). They have 12 seconds, but the T-Mobile train has
upped the tempo and they are caught.
16:14 CEST 121km/39km to go
T-Mobile is definitely
going about things the wrong way if they don't want to defend the jersey.
Maybe it's a ruse to spread Confusion and Disorder in the peloton.
16:19 CEST 123km/37km to go
and Nardello in that order are leading the T-Mobile train as it begins the long
climb of the Arlbergpass, which incidentally was used in the third stage of
the Tour of Germany last year, with the same finish. Patrik Sinkewitz won then,
and Ullrich was 12th.
16:22 CEST 125km/35km to go
35 clicks to go and
it's all T-Mobile. Ullrich is placed in about sixth wheel near the pointy end
of the peloton. Several teams are now fighting for position near - but not at
- the front.
16:23 CEST 127km/33km to go
The peloton scares
a field full of horses as it rolls by. Oh well, they're not going anywhere.
16:25 CEST 128km/32km to go
Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner)
is bringing up the rear of the peloton, not looking too comfy. He moves up a
16:26 CEST 129km/31km to go
It's still the gaunt
but powerful Rolf Aldag on the front. He's really earned his money today.
16:30 CEST 125km/29km to go
The mountains loom
above the riders as they head up the long valley to the Arlbergpass. The climb
is fairly steady but the last 10 km of it averages 7 percent.
16:34 CEST 127km/27km to go
The bunch follows
the course of a river as it heads up the valley. Although the start of the day
was a bit grey, it's very nice weather now for racing, and the sun is out. No-one's
got arm warmers on.
16:37 CEST 128km/26km to go
We're 8 km from the
day's second sprint at Kirche, then the climb will really start. Various teams
are fighting to get to the front, where it looks like Wesemann has finally taken
over from Aldag.
16:39 CEST 130km/24km to go
Another attack! It
looks like Gerdemann from CSC. Yep. He's chased by a Discovery Channel rider
- Jurgen Van Den Broeck. They have a small lead.
Gerdemann sits up for a bit and waits
for Van den Broeck. The peloton is at five seconds, where T-Mobile is driving.
16:41 CEST 131km/23km to go
Gerrit Glomser (Lampre)
has been dropped, and is not looking too happy. A few more riders - Matzbacher
and Colli - are also shelled.
The two leaders have 10 seconds now.
16:43 CEST 132km/22km to go
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas)
has bridged up to the two leaders in quick time. He's now setting the tempo.
16:44 CEST 132km/22km to go
The three leaders
are now being chased by Voeckler (Bouygues) and Lopez (Euskaltel). They're not
cooperating very well in pursuit though. T-Mobile has the peloton at 11 seconds.
16:45 CEST 133km/21km to go
Nardello is on the
front of the T-Mobile train, as Eisel moves up too. The two chasers, Lopez and
Voeckler, have joined the three leaders.
16:46 CEST 134km/20km to go
The leading five:
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas), Linus Gerdemann (CSC), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Discovery),
Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues), and David Lopez (Euskaltel). They have 9 seconds
on the bunch, which is led by Serguei Ivanov and Bernhard Eisel. They're going
to need more than that.
The second sprint of the day is coming
up very soon, in a couple of kilometres in fact. It looks like these front five
will stay away and take all the points.
16:48 CEST 135km/19km to go
But the peloton is
getting closer to the leaders, who aren't riding together. They sit up. Break
16:49 CEST 136km/18km to go
Albasini gets the
sprint ahead of Clerc, who is annoyed because Albasini took the shortest route
to the line, which effectively cut Clerc off on a corner. Rast takes third.
Loosli (Lampre) counters right after the sprint.
The bunch rides through a tunnel
and there is another attack.
16:52 CEST 137km/17km to go
On the other side
of the tunnel, Loosli has been joined by a Saunier rider - David de la Fuente.
Dario Frigo is also chasing. The climb is getting steeper now.
16:53 CEST 138km/16km to go
De La Fuente takes
a puff from an inhaler. Now Valverde (Illes Balears) and Iker Flores (Euskaltel)
are closing in on them.
16:55 CEST 138km/16km to go
De La Fuente is dropped
as Valverde, Flores and Sinkewitz (Quick.Step) join Loosli in front. Straight
away, Valverde and Sinkewitz gap the rest.
Guerini is towing the
peloton with Ullrich on his wheel, 15 seconds behind Valverde.
and Albasini are dropped.
16:56 CEST 139km/15km to go
Rast and Albasini
aren't the only ones to be dropped. A sizeable bus, led by Aldag and Eisel,
has formed. Most of the sprinters are back here.
The peloton passes through another
tunnel, where a couple of cows lie in wait on the top. They don't look like
making an ambush though.
17:01 CEST 140km/14km to go
After the tunnel,
Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) has extracted himself out of the peloton, pursued
by Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner). Not sure if Valverde is still away - doesn't
look like it. No, he isn't.
The peloton is fairly small now - maybe
30 riders. Guerini and Ullrich are in first and second wheels.
has 8 seconds lead.
17:04 CEST 142km/12km to go
Aitor Gonzalez is
leading with 13 km to go as the Arlbergpass steepens. Montgomery is losing time
to him, and is now at 10 seconds. The peloton, led by Guerini, Ullrich and McGee,
is at 21 seconds. Looks like Totschnig, Moos, Schleck, Sinkewitz, Evans, Jeker,
Rogers, Horner, Piepoli, Frigo, Gil, Mayo, Atienza, Celestino, Kirchen are all
17:05 CEST 142km/12km to go
Beloki is riding
with a small group containing Carlstrom (Liquigas), but nowhere near the front
of the race.
Montgomery has been caught by the Ullrich group, and
now just Gonzalez is in front by 17 seconds.
Valjavec attacks next.
The climb is quite steep now and
Guerini has to work hard to keep the tempo up in the peloton. Aitor has 10 seconds
lead on Valjavec, who is closing in.
Valjavec is in a very low gear as
he looks down at his feet. He's slowly coming up to Aitor Gonzalez. Peloton
at 20 seconds from the leader, still with Guerini in front. McGee looks good
on Ullrich's wheel, as do Rogers and Jeker.
17:08 CEST 143km/11km to go
Valjavec has now
clawed his way up to Aitor Gonzalez. The climb is still very steep here. They
have 20 seconds on the Ullrich group.
17:10 CEST 144km/10km to go
The two leaders have
10 km to go, and 2 km of climbing. In the Ullrich group, Valverde has taken
over. Ullrich is still in second wheel, looking very solid as he rides in the
drops, mouth barely open.
There are still about 30 riders in
the Ullrich group, which has knocked 10 seconds off the lead - it's now 12 seconds
as the road flattens a bit. The lead pair started the day at about 1'40 behind
so they're no threat.
Valjavec and Gonzalez continue to
work but they are definitely no threat now - the Ullrich group swallows them,
with Illes Balears in front.
17:14 CEST 145km/9km to go
Piepoli lifts the
pace a bit but Ullrich is quickly on his wheel. Then Totschnig goes to the front.
Another attack - Daniel Schnider (Phonak). He gets company from Koldo Gil (Liberty).
The two might be able to get the mountain points. Gil attacks hard...
17:15 CEST 146km/8km to go
Koldo Gil is now alone
but the peloton has stretched out in pursuit. He's nearly at the summit...
Gil hangs on to take the points and
the mountains jersey, then Kirchen leads the Ullrich group over at 5 seconds.
Ullrich, McGee, Evans, Rogers, are all there too.
17:17 CEST 147km/7km to go
Gil still has a gap
and he starts the descent with five seconds. Let's see if he can stay away.
He flies through a tunnel. The Ullrich group has reformed behind - a good 25
17:18 CEST 148km/6km to go
Alex Moos took third
on the climb behind Gil and Kirchen.
17:18 CEST 149km/5km to go
Gil is flying, pedaling
fairly hard so it can't be that steep. He's at 68 km/h and the peloton is very
Gil is being reeled in by a 75 km/h
chase from the peloton. There's a bit of water on the road, but it's relatively
17:20 CEST 151km/3km to go
Another tunnel, always
interesting at this speed. Frigo and Sinkewitz are leading the bunch. Gil is
now at 93 km/h!!
17:20 CEST 151km/3km to go
Gil has to brake fairly
hard for a wide corner. He has maybe 3 seconds. This is very close. One mistake
and he's gone.
17:21 CEST 152km/2km to go
Gil gets the speed
up on a straight part of the descent, with the peloton breathing down his neck.
But he might do it.
17:21 CEST 153km/1km to go
It's only 2 seconds
as he gets to 1 km to go. Ullrich himself is closing the gap.
Gil is caught just after 1 km to
go by the yellow jersey. Ullrich is in second wheel now, trying to win...
17:23 CEST 154km/0km to go
Frigo looks back but
it's Sinkewitz who leads out and then Brad McGee comes around and wins the stage!!!
Celestino second, then Totschnig and Sinkewitz.
That won't be quite enough to give
McGee the leader's jersey, but he'll be within two seconds of Jan. Nice finish,
and it was touch and go right until the end.
1 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux 3.45.48
2 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze
3 Patrick Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step
4 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner
5 Daniel Schnider (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems
6 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
7 Iban Mayo Diez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems
9 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir
10 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
General classification after stage 3
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 8.31.10
2 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux 0.02
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.18
4 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.12
5 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 1.14
6 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.25
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 1.31
8 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 1.41
9 Patrick Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step 1.47
10 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.52
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