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69th Tour de Suisse - PT

Switzerland, June 11-19, 2005

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Stage 9 - June 19: Ulrichen - Ulrichen, 100.4 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan

Complete live report

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

14:51 CEST   

Race leader Michael Rogers (Quick.Step)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Click for larger image

Welcome to our global audience for today's live coverage of the final stage of the Tour de Suisse. Starting and finishing in Ulrichen, today's stage is a mere 100 kilometres long, but that doesn't mean in any way that it will be easy. In fact, with three of the biggest climbs in the whole race, today could really shake up things on the general classification, and any of the top four are in with a great chance, while Frank Schleck, Koldo Gil, and Chris Horner (5th - 7th on GC) are outside chances, as they need to make up between 1'27 and 1'40 on Michael Rogers.

The Australian is prepared to defend his jersey to the death - there's no saving any energy for the Tour de France. So it's up to Jan Ullrich, Brad McGee, and Aitor Gonzalez to attack him. By the way Aitor rode yesterday, taking a minute out of Rogers on the final climb, it looks as though he could be the one. He'll need to have another good day though.

The climbs today are the Nufenenpass (2478m), which comes after just 13 km, then the Gotthardpass (2078m), at the 50 km mark, and the Furkapass (2431m) at km 77. Then it's a downhill run to the finish in Ulrichen. Today's bonus sprints are at Airolo (km 37) and Realp (km 64.9).

Let's get it on!

15:02 CEST    6km/94km to go
The official start was at 14:46 and straight away the riders are on the climb of the Nufenenpass. A good warm up today is critical!

Non-starters today: Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval), Yannick Talabardon (CA), Andrea Peron (CSC), Marco Zanotti (Liquigas), Tom Boonen and Guido Trenti (Quick.Step) and Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux). It didn't take long for Angelo Furlan (Domina Vacanze) to get dropped, and he too abandoned.

Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) made the first attack and got a small gap. He didn't last long and a new group of seven riders got clear, containing Kim Kirchen and Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo), Daniel Schnider (Phonak), Francesco Bellotti (Crédit Agricole), Luis Perez (Cofidis), Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner), and mountains leader Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Bellotti is the best placed on GC, starting the day in 14th at 5'21. The group has 25 seconds.

15:05 CEST    7km/93km to go
Rogers has already lost Boonen and Trenti, who didn't start. Now he has lost Kevin Hulsmans and Servais Knaven, who couldn't follow the pace of the peloton on the Nufenenpass, and have abandoned. But it will be the same for the other teams. Not many riders will finish today.

15:07 CEST   
Daniel Atienza (Cofidis) has replaced Daniel Schnider (Phonak) in the break. He's 17th on GC at 6'06.

15:12 CEST    10km/90km to go
The lead group has now got a minute on the Rogers mini-peloton, which is already being shredded by the 8.6 percent average gradient of the Nufenenpass, the highest climb in this year's Tour de Suisse.

15:14 CEST    11km/89km to go
Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo) has been dropped from the front group, leaving Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo), Francesco Bellotti (Crédit Agricole), Daniel Atienza and Luis Perez (Cofidis), Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner), and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi) up the road. They are 2 km from the top of the Nufenenpass. It looks like Laiseka will try to secure the mountains jersey here.

15:16 CEST    12km/88km to go
Koldo Gil Perez (Liberty Seguros) and Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) have attacked the Rogers group in pursuit of the leaders. These two, particularly Gil, are very dangerous for the overall classification.

15:18 CEST   
Gil's group is 42 seconds behind the leaders, while Rogers' group is at 1'16. Gil needs 1'38 on Rogers to take the yellow jersey.

15:20 CEST   
Atienza and Luis Perez are riding hard in the front group, keeping the gap at over a minute as they near the top of the Pass.

15:22 CEST   
Speaking with another national champion, Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen, the extremely talented 26 year-old summarised his feelings on the past week as "quite good".

"I didn't have a good time trial [Kirchen finished 27th, 2'08 behind Ullrich - ed.], but each day I've got better, and yesterday, I felt very comfortable," he said to Cyclingnews. Yesterday was the first day where the weather has been really hot; that's why I took it easy on the last climb. Today, I'll try to do another good training day, or maybe ride with the leaders to do a good preparation for the Tour."

When asked if Alessandro Petacchi's non-participation at the Tour de France gives him a little more freedom, Kirchen said: "No, I don't think so.

"Last year, there was four or five riders riding for Petacchi, but I've always [had the freedom to] play my cards; it's the same for me as last year."

15:24 CEST    14km/86km to go
Ullrich and Guerini are riding tempo in the Rogers group, as the race leader doesn't have too many teammates left.

The leaders have reached the top of the Nufenenpass now, and are on the long descent into Airolo.

15:31 CEST    17km/83km to go
As expected, Laiseka took the 20 points for the hors categorie Nufenenpass. In second place over the top was Daniel Atienza, followed by Sven Montgomery, Luis Perez and Kim Kirchen.

15:33 CEST    20km/80km to go
The leaders are on the long, 25 km descent into Airolo, where the day's first intermediate sprint is. It's a bit academic, as that competition has already been wrapped up by Michael Albasini (Phonak), who just has to finish today to win the jersey.

15:34 CEST   
When Cyclingnews caught up with Roger Hammond before the start, the British national champ said: "The race doesn't really suit me with all the mountains, but I've been feeling okay each day. [Discovery's] a different team, in that there's often someone you need to ride for, although it's often a lot more fulfilling than riding around each day with no purpose."

On whether he's made a full recovery after his crash in Paris-Roubaix, Roger said: "Sort of, but it's still bothering me a bit with a twisted pelvis."

Speaking about his immediate objectives, Hammond added: "I'll be riding the [British] national championships and then taking a break, before building up to the Benelux after that."

How badly do you want another British national title: "Not much. It's nice to have, but I've had it for two years now, and it won't be as straightforward as last year."

15:40 CEST    24km/76km to go
Nibali has made it back to the front group again, as has Gil, while Valjavec is chasing them at 0'47, with the "peloton" of 30 riders at 1'06.

15:47 CEST    33km/67km to go
The front group now numbers eight riders: Kim Kirchen and Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo), Francesco Bellotti (Crédit Agricole), Daniel Atienza and Luis Perez (Cofidis), Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner), and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), who has made it on.

Gil's presence is quite dangerous for Rogers and the rest, and the yellow jersey group has reduced the gap to 38 seconds on the descent.

15:50 CEST    39km/61km to go
The lead group is growing, as Voigt, B. Zberg, and Glomser hook on. The leaders: Kim Kirchen and Vincenzo Nibali (Fassa Bortolo), Francesco Bellotti (Crédit Agricole), Daniel Atienza and Luis Perez (Cofidis), Sven Montgomery, Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner), and Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), Jens Voigt (CSC), Gerrit Glomser (Lampre). They have 31 seconds.

15:51 CEST    40km/60km to go
Moreni is setting the tempo in the peloton with Rogers on his wheel. Aitor Gonzalez is in third wheel. Then Michael Barry.

15:52 CEST    40km/60km to go
And now they're on the Gotthardpass: 12.9 km at 7.1%, with a maximum of 17%. The leaders have 38 seconds on the Rogers peloton, which is led by Moreni.

15:54 CEST    41km/59km to go
The climb takes its toll, as Bellotti, Glomser and Nibali are all dropped from the lead group. They are on the cobbles now - not so savage, but not easy on a climb like this. Laiseka takes last wheel.

15:55 CEST   
Kirchen is dropped from the front group, and Laiseka is having problems following.

Meanwhile, Fabian Jeker has attacked the peloton. He had a bad day yesterday and lost 8 minutes. So they can let him go.

15:57 CEST    42km/58km to go
Jeker picks up Glomser first, and goes past. Nibali is next. They both go back to the peloton. Jeker is 41 seconds behind the leaders, with the Rogers group at 56 seconds.

Jeker is now picking up Bellotti.

15:59 CEST   
Montgomery is finding it tough to hang onto the leaders, who are now: Daniel Atienza and Luis Perez (Cofidis), Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner), Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), and Jens Voigt (CSC).

Jeker picks up Kirchen. He's 30 seconds from the front group.

16:00 CEST    43km/57km to go
Fabian Jeker rides past the Luxembourg champion Kirchen, who stays on his wheel for a bit. Montgomery comes back to the lead group, but he's struggling.

16:02 CEST    43km/57km to go
Kirchen tries to hold Jeker for as long as possible, but he can't quite. Jeker is just 18 seconds from the leaders, with the Rogers group at 34 seconds. This climb is all cobbled at the moment.

16:04 CEST    44km/56km to go
Moreni sets the tempo in the Rogers group, doing a great job today. He grabs a bidon from a soigneur, but declines a musette. Another 6 km from the top of the climb.

The road smoothes out and flattens, and Kirchen has made it back to Jeker. Laiseka is now having problems in the lead group. He needs the points on this climb to secure the jersey.

16:06 CEST    45km/55km to go
"If you ride this, it'll be good training for the Tour!"
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
Click for larger image
Kirchen and Jeker have tanked, and are back in the Rogers group, which is being led all the time by Italian champ Cristian Moreni. No sign of Sinkewitz.

The seven remaining leaders have 46 seconds on the Rogers group, which is maybe 20 riders strong: Rogers, Moreni, Ullrich, Guerini, McGee, Aitor Gonzalez, Evans, Horner, Schleck, and Piepoli, among others.

16:08 CEST    45km/55km to go
Rogers grabs a bidon from a roadside soigneur, and glues himself to Moreni's wheel. Schleck is following Rogers, then Horner and Ullrich.

In front, Koldo Gil looks back - he has 52 seconds on Rogers, and needs 1'38 to take the jersey. The front seven are hanging together.

16:12 CEST    46km/54km to go
They're back on the cobbles again as the seven leaders continue to ride 50 or so seconds in front of the Rogers group, which is being led by Moreni. 4 km from the top of the Gotthardpass, and the leaders are on the final series of switchbacks. Luis Perez attacks! Interesting.

16:13 CEST   
Perez's attack has split the lead group, as Zberg and Gil give chase, then Voigt.

16:14 CEST    47km/53km to go
Atienza and Laiseka make it back, and Montgomery isn't too far off either, just riding his own tempo. Just Perez in front now.

16:15 CEST   
Perez can see the rest of the group another hairpin below him, and the Rogers group several hairpins away. He continues to ride at a hard tempo on the cobbles, looking for smooth sections of road when they arise.

Gil asks the other riders to work with him.

Weather: well, it's the same as it is every day. Warm, blue skies, and sun.

16:17 CEST    48km/52km to go
The Rogers group is now 1'00 behind Luis Perez, and maybe 50 seconds behind the rest of the break. Jeker has been dropped, as has Glomser, Osa, Ludewig. No big surprises there.

16:18 CEST    48km/52km to go
Now Beat Zberg makes a move from the chasing break, trying to bridge the gap to Luis Perez. The Gerolsteiner rider started the day 2'32 behind Rogers, so Gil is still the greater threat.

16:19 CEST   
In front, Luis Perez unclips from his pedal momentarily. He's looking a bit knackered now, but is 1'25 ahead of the yellow jersey group. Beat Zberg should get him, either before the top, or on the descent. Perez is pretty handy on the downhills.

16:20 CEST    48km/52km to go
Zberg makes contact with Perez, sits behind for a moment, then goes past. The two have 1'30 on the Rogers group.

16:22 CEST    49km/51km to go
The two leaders are now less than 1 km from the summit of the Gotthardpass. Moreni continues setting tempo for Rogers - great job he's done today. But Rogers' jersey isn't safe yet. Not by any stretch.

16:23 CEST   
Gil's group is 20 seconds behind the two leaders, with the Rogers group at 1'26. That means Gil is about 30 seconds from the yellow, and Zberg is a minute. It's all virtual at the moment.

But Gil is coming back to Perez and Zberg!

16:24 CEST   
Gil closes the gap, impressive. Three leaders now.

16:24 CEST   
Atienza is getting up to them two - four leaders, nearly at the top.

16:26 CEST    50km/50km to go
Laiseka and Voigt are now back with the leaders, meaning Laiseka should be able to get enough mountain points. Montgomery is not with them though.

16:27 CEST   
Laiseka attacks in the big ring and Luis Perez takes his wheel. Then Gil goes over the top but Perez takes the points! Laiseka took second, then Gil, Zberg, Voigt, and Atienza. Laiseka wins the mountains jersey.

16:29 CEST    51km/49km to go
Moreni leads the Rogers group up all the way to the top - fantastic job, but Rogers needs a bit more security. They get a couple of bidons and energy gels from the soigneurs.

Montgomery is seventh over the top at 0'27, then Rogers' group at 1'27. One more climb to come.

Gil is now very close to virtual yellow. He is asking Zberg to work with him, but Zberg won't, because he's not as well placed on GC. They're really arguing. They have 1'42 - Gil is virtual yellow :-)

16:31 CEST    52km/48km to go
Montgomery is back with the break on the descent, which is on nice wide roads. Perez is leading the group. Voigt is last wheel.

In the peloton, Rogers is now asking some of the others to help, Schleck for instance.

16:33 CEST    55km/45km to go
The leaders tackle the 10 km descent into Realp, en route to the final climb of the day. The gap is 1'39 to the leaders.

The is a nice descent, much better to ride on than the cobbles! The leaders are at 83 km/h, slowing to 70 to take one of the wide hairpins, then picking up again.

16:34 CEST    56km/44km to go
Gil's time in the virtual yellow didn't last long, as the gap is back to 1'30. Well, if he could win the stage he'd get a 10 second bonus, but we're talking about virtual castles in the virtual air at the moment.

Mayo is trying to give his jacket back to the team car in the peloton.

16:35 CEST    56km/44km to go
It's Moreni and Rogers themselves who are working in front of the peloton, even opening up a small gap. "Let 'em go, they'll die in the hills!"

16:36 CEST    58km/42km to go
Ullrich and then the peloton gradually catch Rogers and Moreni, who are at 1'19 behind the Koldo Gil group.

16:36 CEST    59km/41km to go
Rogers and Moreni are better descenders than the front seven. The gap is now down to 1'10, but the leaders are close to the bottom.

16:38 CEST    60km/40km to go
The leaders tackle a one lane road in the valley as they ride towards Realp. Rogers and co are at 1'05 and closing. The cooperation in front is not great.

Moreni nearly overcooks it on a corner, but he saves it. Ullrich follows Rogers, with a bidon in his mouth. 56 seconds. Very impressive by Moreni.

16:39 CEST    61km/39km to go
Moreni, Rogers, and Ullrich have the tiniest gap on the rest of the peloton, which is really struggling to keep in touch. If Rogers saves yellow today, it will thanks to Cristian Moreni.

16:42 CEST    64km/36km to go
The gap increases to 1'05 as the leaders head towards the second sprint of the day.

Laiseka is caught by the bunch, but he's done his job and won the mountains jersey. Now six leaders: Luis Perez and Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), Beat Zberg and Sven Montgomery (Gerolsteiner), Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), Jens Voigt (CSC).

16:43 CEST   
Rogers and Ullrich grab a bidon from the motorbike. The six leaders now have 1'09 on the peloton as Montgomery leads them towards the sprint.

16:44 CEST    65km/35km to go
Koldo Gil jumps from a long way back to take the bonus seconds. Montgomery and Zberg second and third. Now they'll do the Furkapass.

Montgomery and Perez are dropped immediately, as Zberg attacks! Gil, Voigt and Atienza chase.

16:45 CEST   
Zberg knows he has to attack to win the yellow, because Gil is too close to him on GC. He has about 10 seconds on Gil and Atienza, as Voigt also has problems following. 1'18 to the peloton.

Rogers attacks the peloton!

16:46 CEST    66km/34km to go
Guerini reacts, and tows Ullrich back to Rogers. Nice work. That has caused the first selection. Horner, Schleck, Aitor Gonzalez are all there.

16:47 CEST    66km/34km to go
In front, Gil and Atienza have caught Beat Zberg. They have 1'15 on the Rogers group.

16:49 CEST    66km/34km to go
We have three leaders: Koldo Gil, Beat Zberg, and Daniel Atienza.

McGee, Mayo, Totschnig and Evans are shelled from the Rogers group. But Mayo manages to get back up to them.

Perez and Montgomery are caught by the Rogers group, as Atienza attacks in front, but the other two mark him. Gil looks good today.

16:50 CEST    67km/33km to go
Rogers now setting tempo with Ullrich and Guerini on his wheel. There's about 10 riders in his little group. Schleck, Horner, Mayo, Piepoli, Aitor Gonzalez, Valjavec... The gap is 1'09.

16:51 CEST   
There's another 10 km of climbing to come as Aitor attacks!! Could this be it? Rogers and Schleck react. Ullrich can't. Three chasers.

16:51 CEST    67km/33km to go
Aitor sits up and Rogers comes through with Schleck. Ullrich and Guerini are gapped now - Aitor should work with Rogers, and he does a turn.

16:52 CEST    67km/33km to go
Gonzalez gets out of the saddle and attacks again, this time hurting Rogers and Schleck. Now he has a gap. He catches Voigt, who is in a bit of bother.

16:54 CEST    68km/32km to go
Rogers and Schleck are caught by Ullrich's little group, as Aitor is now 30 seconds from the three leaders. Impressive riding, but it's not over yet.

Voigt does a strong turn for Schleck, it's all he has left in the tank.

16:54 CEST   
Ullrich and Guerini are dropped again! Together with moos and Valjavec.

16:55 CEST   
Voigt swings off and Schleck accelerates, Rogers has trouble following. They are just 9 seconds behind Aitor Gonzalez, who is only 13 seconds from the three leaders.

16:56 CEST    69km/31km to go
Koldo Gil does a turn in the break, as Aitor rides up behind him, solid as a rock. The yellow jersey is 24 seconds behind the leaders. Aitor needs only 38 seconds to win the Tour de Suisse.

16:58 CEST    69km/31km to go
Gonzalez is on the front now, with three riders glued to his wheel. Schleck, Horner and Piepoli are chasing at 16 seconds, and Rogers is with Voigt, at 25 seconds. This will be close.

16:59 CEST    70km/30km to go
The situation with 30 km to go:

Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel), leads Daniel Atienza (Cofidis) and Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), then Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) at 5 seconds, then Schleck, Horner, and Piepoli at 0'13, then Rogers at 23 seconds, then Ullrich's group at 32 seconds.

17:00 CEST   
Aitor Gonzalez slowly rides away from Gil and Atienza, and checks back to see what's happening behind. It's major damage.

Zberg is now with the Schleck, Piepoli, Horner group.

17:01 CEST    70km/30km to go
Rogers hasn't cracked though - he's just six seconds off the back of the Schleck group, and 24 behind Aitor Gonzalez. Rogers is a good descender, so could probably make that up on the Furkapass descent.

17:02 CEST   
Horner now leads his little group, which is picking up Gil and Atienza. Rogers follows them completely alone. Then Ullrich, Guerini, Moos, and Valjavec at another 10 seconds. Ullrich is suffering today.

17:03 CEST    71km/29km to go
Rogers now gets Zberg - he can see the three in front of him just out of reach. But he looks good, and doesn't show that he's suffering. Unfortunately for him, Aitor Gonzalez is now 44 seconds to the better. He's in virtual yellow.

17:05 CEST    72km/28km to go
Rogers grabs a drink and picks up his tempo, chasing Daniel Atienza (Cofidis), Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros), Frank Schleck (CSC), Chris Horner, and Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier), who are all together now. Aitor Gonzalez is still alone, in front. Ullrich is another 30 seconds off Rogers.

17:06 CEST    72km/28km to go
Aitor reaches a flatter section of the climb and pushes his advantage up to 48 seconds. He needs 38, actually only 28 if he wins the stage and Rogers finishes lower than third.

17:07 CEST   
Aitor Gonzalez looks very smooth as his mashes his big chainring on this part of the Furkapass. 30 seconds behind him, Rogers has caught the Horner group. He chats with the American. They all need to work to get Aitor. Ullrich is now 1'15 behind the leader.

17:09 CEST    73km/27km to go
Guerini is riding ahead of Ullrich, Moos, and Valjavec, but Ullrich is having a lot of difficulty today. He should end up top five in the Tour de Suisse, and that's not too bad for him if you go back to 2003, where he was 7th at 2'27 but then went onto have a great Tour.

17:11 CEST    74km/26km to go
Zberg is now back with the Ullrich group, where Moos and Valjavec are as well.

26 km to go and Aitor Gonzalez has 49 seconds on Rogers and co. Gil is having problems following this group.

17:13 CEST    74km/26km to go
Gonzalez is inching away from the Rogers group, now 53 seconds, 54, as he gets to 3 km from the summit. Ullrich's group is just 25 seconds behind Rogers, so it's not over for them at all.

Gil is dropped from the Rogers group, which is being led by Horner now. Schleck, Piepoli and Atienza are the others there.

17:14 CEST    75km/25km to go
Julian Gorospe encourages his man, who now has a minute on Rogers' group. This will be a very close battle, and the descent will count for a lot.

17:16 CEST    75km/25km to go
Horner is working very hard in the Rogers group, but unable to match Aitor's pace. Rogers is enjoying the draft. He needs all the help he can get today. But Aitor Gonzalez is doing it all on his own. 1'02. Ullrich at 1'32.

17:17 CEST   
Gonzalez gets close to the summit as he's chased by a mad (male) Swiss fan wearing nothing but a thong. That's helped - he now has 1'06!

17:19 CEST    76.5km/23.5km to go
Aitor gets into the big gear as he gets to less than 1 km from the summit of the Furkapass. The Rogers group is unchanged, with Horner working all the time. Horner does stand to gain a few places on GC, and if he can make sure that Gil stays dropped, he'll be in the top five at the end of the day.

Gonzalez is over the top now! 24 km to go and this will be hard.

17:20 CEST    78km/22km to go
It's 1'08 for Rogers over the top, and 1'47 for Ullrich's group, which now has Gil in it.

Second over was Horner, then Rogers, Piepoli, and Atienza.

17:21 CEST    79km/21km to go
Gonzalez is descending well, and now has 1'12. But he'll need to be careful. Ullrich's group is 40 seconds behind Rogers.

17:22 CEST    80km/20km to go
Gonzalez cuts a hairpin very fine, then another.

Ullrich is trying to make up the deficit with Moos and Guerini chasing him.

17:23 CEST    81km/19km to go
Gonzalez hits 83 km/h as he goes under 20 km to go. Then he has to slow and take a hairpin. He has 1'08 on Rogers' group, which is being led by the yellow jersey now.

17:24 CEST    81km/19km to go
Rogers is very quick on the descent, even gapping Horner and Schleck, but not much. 1'03 under 20 km to go.

17:25 CEST    83km/17km to go
Horner now takes over in the chase, as Rogers sits behind for a bit. Schleck in third wheel, then Piepoli and Atienza. But Aitor is several hairpins in front.

17:26 CEST    84km/16km to go
It's about a minute between the two important groups as Gonzalez again hits it up to 87 km/h. The roads are great here, as they are in most of Switzerland.

Ullrich's group is still 45 seconds behind Rogers'.

17:27 CEST    86km/14km to go
Gonzalez takes a very sharp line around a corner, and loses a few seconds. It's 58 seconds with 15 km to go. Rogers needs to get within 28 seconds to make absolute sure. That's going to be hard.

Horner and Rogers are doing most of the work.

17:29 CEST    87km/13km to go
The bonus seconds at the finish are 10, 6 and 4 seconds. Gonzalez needs a total of 38 to win the Tour de Suisse (he now has 56). We'll let you work it out :-)

17:30 CEST    88km/12km to go
In the chase group, Atienza is struggling to hold on. He's not the best of descenders. But he's still there. 54 seconds.

17:31 CEST    89km/11km to go
If Rogers finishes second, he still needs to finish 34 seconds behind Aitor Gonzalez. It's now 53. The Ullrich group is not coming back, but it's not losing time.

17:32 CEST    90km/10km to go
They're a few km from the bottom of the descent, then there's another 6 or 7 of flat/slight downhill to the finish.

Gonzalez is riding well, taking a few risks but he's a very good downhiller. 55 seconds.

17:33 CEST    91km/9km to go
The leader passes 9 km to go and the descent is now in the trees. Rogers leads the chase behind, but it's looking like he won't save his yellow.

17:34 CEST    92km/8km to go
Gonzalez is at 58 seconds, and he has a nice buffer with 8 km to go. He can afford to take it a bit steadier, if necessary.

17:35 CEST    93km/7km to go
Ullrich's group is 1'49, which means that he's still fourth on GC.

Rogers is powering the chase, but it's up to 1'03. Not enough.

17:37 CEST    95km/5km to go
Aitor is still going downhill, but not quite as quick. He's got 1'04 on the Rogers group, which is not going to do enough to get the strong Euskaltel rider.

Ullrich's group is still working hard too.

17:38 CEST    96km/4km to go
Schleck should finish third overall, behind Aitor and Rogers. Great ride by the young CSC man!

Gonzalez can sense victory - just 4 fast kilometres to go.

17:39 CEST    97km/3km to go
Gonzalez gets some more encouragement from Gorospe. You can do it son! He looks great as he powers along on the drops.

Rogers is doing most of the work in his group. Nearly all of it actually. But Schleck and Horner are rolling through.

17:40 CEST    98km/2km to go
Gonzalez should win the stage by a minute or so, which will give him the Tour de Suisse by about half a minute, depending on where Rogers finishes. His speed is 55 km/h.

The group behind is now at 54 seconds.

17:40 CEST    98.5km/1.5km to go
The cooperating is helping Rogers, who is 50 seconds behind Aitor now. But the Basque should have enough as he hits the headwind with 1 km to go.

17:41 CEST    99.5km/0.5km to go
Gonzalez passes 500m, in a lot of pain but still solid.

17:41 CEST    100km/0km to go
Aitor Gonzalez rides to the finish and wins the stage with a good 700m/50 seconds lead over the Rogers group! He wins the Tour de Suisse too!!

17:42 CEST   
Horner leads the Rogers group as Rogers and Schleck sprint for the seconds. Schleck takes second and Atienza is third, then Horner and Piepoli. Bit cheeky from Atienza, who didn't do a turn there.

17:44 CEST   
Ullrich's group comes home led by Zberg and Moos, at 1'42. Ullrich will finish third overall, Schleck fourth, Horner fifth.

17:55 CEST   
And as a very happy Aitor Gonzalez collects his flowers and kisses on the podium, we say goodbye to the Tour de Suisse for 2005. His teammate Laiseka will get the mountains jersey, Michael Albasini the sprints, and Brad McGee the points.

Next stop for the Hindenburg IV: The Tour de France.


1 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                           3.03.52
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                        0.46
3 Daniel Atienza (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone         
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                                     0.48
5 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir                         
6 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir        
7 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                       1.42
8 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                    
9 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                      
10 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team            

Final general classification

1 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                          33.08.51
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step                                     0.22
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                     1.36
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                        1.41
5 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval-Prodir                             2.02
6 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                    2.49
7 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                       3.47
8 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française Des Jeux                              4.13
9 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                         4.28
10 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        6.01

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