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69th Tour de Suisse - PT

Switzerland, June 11-19, 2005

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Stage 7 - June 17: Einsiedeln - Lenk, 193 km

Commentary by Hedwig Kröner, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

15:02 CEST   
Welcome back to our Live coverage of the Tour de Suisse stage seven from Einsiedeln to Lenk. the start town is quite small but not as small as its name in German ("recluse" literally) would suggest.

Today's stage is a rather hilly one which presents perfect conditions for a strong breakaway group to try and go for a stage win. There are two GPM's on the way: one Cat. 3 climb at km 118, and one Cat. 4 some 11 km from the finish in Lenk. Two intermediate sprints are also on offer, by the kilometre-marks 142 and 179. Note that the last 53 km are slowly but steadily uphill.

15:06 CEST   
One rider didn't show up at the start in Einsiedeln this morning: Matej Mugerli (Liquigas) has abandoned the race. Therefore, 137 riders are still in it.

The weather is looking good so far too: although it's cloudy, temperatures are high at about 27° Celsius. The air is sort of humid but there are no rain showers or thunderstorms forecast.

15:17 CEST   
It was a fast start at 12.45 in Einsiedeln, as individual riders and groups tried to escape the fast-pacing peloton to take their chances of a breakaway. After 15 km, a group of 18 had a gap of almost one minute. Eternal attacker Jens Voigt (CSC) was in it, as well as Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa), David Etxebarria (Liberty), Martin Elmiger (Phonak), Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step), Thomas Voeckler (Bougyes), Guerini (T-Mobile), Steegmans (Davitamon), Kroon (Rabobank), Pinotti (Saunier), Baranowski (Liberty), Barredo (Liberty), Albasini (Liquigas), Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Loosli (Lampre), Righi (Lampre), Arieta (Illes Balears) and Albizu (Euskaltel).

But the peloton reacted and engaged in the chase, which split the bunch in two, rapidly moving in on the riders. Yellow jersey wearer Michael Rogers was safe in the first group, which caught the break at km 37.

15:21 CEST   
Soon after, another seven riders tried their luck and broke away from the peloton of about 50 riders: Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon), Karsten Kroon (Rabobank), Martin Elmiger (Phonak), Linus Gerdemann (CSC), Lorenzo Bernucci (Fassa Bortolo), David Etxebarria (Liberty) and Joseba Albizu (Euskaltel). Several of them had already tried previously, so they should have be eager to make this happen.

As the break was working hard to create a lead, the second part of the peloton had regrouped with the first. Especially Quick.Step had done the chasing.

15:25 CEST   
The peloton largely ruled by Quick.Step then decided to let the seven-man break be, as it did not include any threats to any of the jersey-wearers. Off they went, an increased their lead steadily to up to 4 minutes.

15:28 CEST    107km/86km to go
The break has now passed the feed zone in Marbach after 107 km of racing.

15:30 CEST   
Alan Johansen (CSC) has crashed, but not badly. He is currently chasing the peloton, who has begun to stretch out as the gap shouldn't increase too much if the sprinter's team want to have a go at the finish in Lenk. Quick.Step is on a double mission: protect Rogers and pave the way for Boonen...

15:33 CEST   
The current tempo has made the riders cover 88,2 km during the first two hours of this stage. Martin Elmiger is the best-placed on GC in the break: he's in 27th position, 5.40 mins. behind Rogers.

15:38 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Anthony Tan spoke to yesterday's stage winner Chris Horner last night. While Horner was of course very excited to have won at the Tour de Suisse, he placed less emphasis on it than on the fact that his manager had just confirmed to him that he had gotten the ticket for his team's Tour de France roster - something Horner has been wishing for a long time, since neither FDJ nor the Mercury team had taken him to France. So watch out for a full News story on this later on on Cyclingnews.

15:44 CEST    118km/75km to go
The peloton has also passed the feed zone now, while the break is almost at the GPM mark on the Schallerberg (Cat. 3).

Jens Voigt, who tried to break away earlier, told Cyclingnews two days ago that his team didn't have particularly high goals for this Tour de Suisse. Especially since his teammate Bobby Julich is using the race more as a high-quality training race, with the Tour de France in the back of his head. We asked him what he thought of Jan Ullrich, and Voigt replied: "Oh, Jan tested himself all-out duriong the time trial, and you can see the result! He's looking good.."

15:50 CEST    131km/62km to go
The break has just passed the GPM. Albizu took the points, followed by Elmiger, Gerdemann and Etxebarria in that order. With 62 km to go, the gap is still at 4.23.

15:54 CEST    136km/57km to go
The bunch is still led by Quick.Step with Rogers in fifth position, as it winds through the beautiful scenery of Switzerland. FDJ and T-Mobile is also in the front. Rogers is looking easy, and Knaven sits in first position, having a drink. They're limiting the gap, but not chasing flat out yet.

15:59 CEST    139km/54km to go
Albizu is munching a bar in front. He will try to take all the mountain points again at the second climb today, as his teammate Laiseka is leading the classification.

The bunch was speeding up a little on the descent of the climb. Current gap: 3.48 - still plenty of time to catch the break before the finish, which seems likely.

16:03 CEST   
Boonen is in second place behind Kanven. Some riders roll right over a roundabout in Gwatt, while the front group has passed the intermediate sprint at km 142. Albizu was first.

16:10 CEST   
Cyclingnews also talked to Robbie McEwen yesterday. The Australian sprinter is still a little bit disappointed with the lack of combined efforts of the teams during stage 5, where Davitamon worked very hard to catch the break, with practically no help from the other teams, until it was too late. "I'm going full gas every day here to be in the best shape for the Tour de France," he further commented on his performances.

Today, Quick.Step is doing all the work - the whole team is in front, and it's not as easy as it looks as the route is on a constant false flat until the finish line in Lenk.

16:19 CEST    151km/42km to go
The break's lead is pretty solid around 3.45 minutes. Of course, the pleoton will not want to catch the seven too soon to minimize the risk of counter attacks.

16:29 CEST   
CSC's team director Bjarne Riis should be pretty happy about his newly signed German young gun Linus Gerdemann showing himself in the break. Gerdemann is a major talent in Germany and the Dane has been reported to talk about him as the "next Jan Ullrich". We might hear that name more often in the future, if Riis is right.

FDJ has now also engaged in the chase, as well as some Lampre riders. With Cooke and Eisel, FDJ have two Jokers up their sleeve for today...

16:33 CEST    162km/31km to go
And it's paying off: the gap is melting down to less than 3 minutes with 31 km to go. McEwen is sitting comfortably in the front part of the bunch, chatting to a teammate. The peloton is on a slightly downhill stretch now, Lampre is front, working for Loosli.

16:36 CEST    165km/28km to go
Quick.Step's Guido trenti is getting some energy food out of his team car in the back, as well as some bottles. His jersey is stuffed in the back as well as in front as he drives up again... Meanwhile, the sun is out so we won't have to fear any slippery finish today.

16:42 CEST    168km/25km to go
The Belgian team Davitamon doesn't have to participate in the chase as their man, Fred Rodriguez, is still in the break. It's the best situation a sprinter's team can possibly be in, as McEwen's lead-outs can save energy for the finale. Nevertheless, the gap is down to 2.25 now.

16:50 CEST    175km/18km to go
Needless to say, Rodriguez isn't doing much in the front anymore. He's mostly in sixth or seventh position, sparing himself.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) has also shown up in front of the chasers - his teammate Colli could also be in for a win. The bunch is hammering, some of the guys look like they will be biting into their handlebars any moment now.

16:53 CEST   
The finsih straight in Lenk is pretty long today, so it's not a technical game but one of pure strength during the final meters of this stage.

A Quick.Step rider, (Hulsmans?) is having trouble at the back of the bunch, he gets dropped. Well, the Belgian team is doing a great job today, and somebody has to pay for it...

16:57 CEST   
The break gets to Zweisimmen at km 178. It doesn't look like they agree on working at 100 percent any more - understandable, as the peloton is only 1.30 behind now. Still, they might have a chance if they agreed...

Kroon takes the points at the intermediate sprint, in front of Gerdemann and Bernucci.

16:59 CEST    182km/11km to go
The break has passed the last GPM. Etxebarria was there first as planned for his teammate, then followed Gerdemann. Still leading by 1.11.

17:03 CEST    185km/8km to go
But the bunch is stretched out, speeding. This way, they won't stand a chance. Etxebarria has spent too much energy, he gets dropped from the break. In first position of the bunch, it's still Carlström in aero position.

The teams are seeking positions now. Etxebarria is caught.

17:05 CEST    186km/7km to go
And Linus Gerdemann has attacked! The young German seized the day and gives it everything - he has a good little gap.

17:06 CEST    187km/6km to go
The other breakaways will be caught in a few mometns, as Gerdemann hammers on his own. He's suffering all out, but looking back...

17:08 CEST    189km/4km to go
Gerdemann still has 48 seconds. He could make it!

17:10 CEST    191km/2km to go
Vasseur and Righi have countered from the peloton, but FDJ is right there too. But the bunch is no longer chasing, they're not at it anymore. Gerdemann will win this!

17:12 CEST    192km/1km to go
Attacks are coming out of the bunch as gerdemann punches under the red flag of the last 1000 meters. He needs to push through...

17:13 CEST   
And he makes it, with Bernucci (Fassa) right behind him!

17:14 CEST   
What a victory for the 23 year-old! Riis did the right thing in signing the neo-pro.


1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team CSC                                 4.25.00
2 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                              0.04
3 David Etxebarria (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                 0.14
4 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank                                      0.14
5 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                          
6 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                 
7 Daniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                              0.23   
8 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner                            
9 Baden Cooke (Aus) Française Des Jeux                          
10 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                             
11 David De La Fuente (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                  
12 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                  

General classification after stage 7

1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                                25.54.03
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                    0.20
3 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux                             0.22
4 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            1.11
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                       1.27
6 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            1.31
7 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                             1.38
8 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                        1.39
9 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                   1.42
10 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                     1.57

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