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Giro finale
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60th Tour de Romandie - PT

Switzerland, April 25-30, 2006

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Prologue - April 25: Geneva ITT, 3.4km

Savoldelli stands the test of time

By Anthony Tan in Geneva

Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

It was an unexpected victory, but one that gave hope to cycling's tifosi that there will be more than one serious contender at the upcoming Giro d'Italia.

Today in Geneva, defending Giro champion Paolo Savoldelli provided an almost flawless prologue performance to earn himself his first stage victory of the season and take the opening lead in 60th edition of the Tour de Romandie. Almost flawless, for the 32 year-old was going so fast coming out of the final hairpin on the Rue De-Candolle, he almost crashed into the barriers with 500 metres to go - but luckily for him, 'Il Falco' held his nerve, straightening his line and posting the fastest time of the day.

"I am content with this win today and it shows my preparations for the Giro are almost complete," said the quietly-spoken Savoldelli, who prefers to let his legs and bike handling skills - particularly when going downhill - do the talking.

Not unexpected was the third-place of Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux), who indicated before today he was looking for the win, although another surprise was last Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alejandro Valverde. With his second place today, the ProTour leader from Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears showed he's still at the peak of his form, and will no doubt be looking for a stage victory or two as the terrain gets tougher towards the end of the week.

How it unfolded

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

A light shower before the first of 165 riders left the starting gate outside Geneva's Parc des Bastion at a quarter-past four this afternoon initially made a tricky course even trickier. Just 3.4 kilometres long, but including three hairpin bends and six right-angled corners, this prologue wasn't one for the faint-hearted.

Such explosive efforts are not unlike the final kilometres of a road stage headed for a bunch gallop, so it wasn't too much of a surprise when the 31st rider to leave, Davitamon-Lotto's sprinter Robbie McEwen, took the provisional best spot with a time of 4 minutes 39.85 seconds. The Australian's time held for the best part of an hour, indicating the 33 year-old was reaching top form again after an early season plagued by illness, and is a likely candidate to take tomorrow's stage in Payerne.

A few minutes after half-past five, it turned out to be his team-mate Johan Van Summeren who bettered McEwen's mark, but only by a second. 20 minutes later, there was a huge commotion outside the T-Mobile truck as the massive thighs of 1997 Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich hauled themselves off his Giant TT machine and headed for the start gate on the Rue Saint-Léger. There was less fuss regarding his time, however: 4 minutes 53.48 seconds turned out to be 90th best on the classement, his report card indicating 'plenty of room for improvement'.

30 riders before the last was to leave at 19:10, that being Phonak's Alexandre Moos, his ex-teammate Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) Sset a very fast 4 minutes 34.68 seconds that turned out to be good enough for fourth by the day's end. Just after a quarter to seven, Chrono specialist Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux) went one better, chopping three seconds off Pereiro's time and clocking a 4'31.39.

Bradley McGee (Française des Jeux)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
(Click for larger image)

With 13 riders still left to finish, McGee was by no means home and hosed, but he probably wasn't expecting Liège-Bastogne-Liège champion Alejandro Valverde to knock him off his perch - although that's exactly what our new ProTour leader did, his 4 minutes 27.95 seconds almost four seconds faster than the Sydneysider's.

However, the day's surprises didn't end there. Out of the remaining 11, many believed the name of Bobby Julich could top the leaderboard, but the CSC rider fell almost 10 seconds short of Valverde and finished 10th. In the end, it turned out to be the rider who left three minutes before the American who stood the test of time: defending Giro d'Italia champion Paolo Savoldelli.

Stage 1 - April 26: Payerne-Payerne

Tomorrow, the tour moves northeast to Payerne for a relatively easy 169 kilometre road stage. Dotted with two Cat. 3 climbs at Chesalles (km 76.5) and Sassel (km 123.4) and two sprint primes along the way, one can expect the only bunch sprint of the week. With his solid performance today, it's got Robbie McEwen's name all over it, but the likes of Alejandro Valverde and Rubens Bertogliati will be taking the challenge to the pocket-rocket from Down Under.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com


1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              4.27.32 (45.788 km/h)
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears       0.00.63
3 Bradley Mcgee (Aus) Française des Jeux                                 0.04.07
4 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                 0.07.36
5 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                                   0.07.39
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital                                   0.08.70
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                         0.08.75
8 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                 0.09.14
9 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team L.P.R.                                    0.09.15
10 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                           0.09.24
11 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                 0.09.73
12 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas                                      0.09.97
13 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                     0.10.07
14 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank                                          0.10.11
15 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole                             0.10.22
16 Michael Blaudzun (Den) Team CSC                                       0.10.76
17 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                              0.10.92
18 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                 0.11.08
19 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) T-Mobile Team                                    0.11.13
20 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Quick Step-Innergetic                        0.11.37
21 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                         0.11.48
22 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                              0.11.50
23 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Fondital                                    0.11.56
24 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                           0.11.65
25 Jurge Van Den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team         0.11.66
26 Jose Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                 0.12.00
27 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team             0.12.09
28 Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                         0.12.10
29 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                   0.12.53
30 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                         0.12.55
31 Jeremy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux                                   0.12.76
32 Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank                                   0.12.81
33 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas                                       0.12.83
34 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                         0.13.03
35 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas                                      0.13.40
36 Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                           0.13.66
37 Jos Arrieta Lujambio (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                            0.14.33
38 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                0.14.69
39 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                       0.15.20
40 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Team Milram                                  0.15.24
41 Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) T-Mobile Team                              0.15.46
42 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank                                   0.15.63
43 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team           0.16.54
44 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quick Step-Innergetic                             0.16.70
45 Yohann Gene (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                    0.16.98
46 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                               0.17.24
47 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                               0.17.28
48 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                   0.17.48
49 Alessandr Cortinovis (Ita) Team Milram                                0.17.55
50 Giuseppe Muraglia (Ita) Team L.P.R.                                   0.17.64
51 Victor Pena Grisales (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems                     0.17.65
52 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Team Milram                                    0.17.68
53 Frederic Bessy (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                 0.17.98
54 Cedric Vasseur (Fra) Quick Step-Innergetic                            0.17.99
55 Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears    0.18.10
56 Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                 0.18.88
57 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                         0.19.17
58 Claudio Corioni (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                 0.19.34
59 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas                                    0.19.38
60 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone              0.19.69
61 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                           0.19.94
62 Pavel Padrnos (Cze) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                0.20.24
63 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                             0.20.71
64 Bart Dockx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                      0.20.78
65 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears              0.20.93
66 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram                                  0.21.12
67 Bernhard Kohl (Aut) T-Mobile Team                                     0.21.15
68 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team                                       0.21.20
69 Aketza Pena Iza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                               0.21.25
70 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team                                   0.21.47
71 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                     0.21.93
72 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                          0.22.35
73 Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Française des Jeux                            0.22.60
74 Christian Vandevelde (USA) Team CSC                                   0.22.90
75 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram                                     0.23.11
76 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Liquigas                                         0.23.20
77 Yuri Metlushenko (Ukr) Team L.P.R.                                           
78 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                    0.23.26
79 Sven Montgomery (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                    0.23.27
80 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Credit Agricole                                0.23.54
81 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                     0.23.92
82 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                    0.23.98
83 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                         0.24.47
84 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank                                              0.24.57
85 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole                               0.25.21
86 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Milram                                        0.25.44
87 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                    0.25.47
88 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               0.25.79
89 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears               0.25.80
90 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                       0.26.16
91 Joseba Beloki (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                        0.26.23
92 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Team CSC                                     0.26.36
93 Gorka Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                0.26.58
94 Andrea Noe (Ita) Liquigas                                             0.26.77
95 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre-Fondital                                 0.26.79
96 David Herrero Llorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                               
97 Jukka Vastaranta (Fin) Rabobank                                       0.26.86
98 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas                                       0.27.02
99 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                          0.27.19
100 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                          0.27.72
101 Herve Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone         0.28.00
102 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                    0.28.15
103 Roger Beuchat (Swi) Team L.P.R.                                      0.28.16
104 Jonathan Patrick Mccarty (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                0.28.78
105 Luis Perez Rodriguez (Spa) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone          0.28.95
106 Leif Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                  0.29.39
107 Ivan Ram Parra Pinto (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                 
108 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                            0.29.40
109 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                 0.29.42
110 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC                                          0.29.62
111 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                           0.29.89
112 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Lampre-Fondital                            0.29.96
113 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                               0.30.27
114 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                0.30.45
115 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                0.30.97
116 Christophe Edaleine (Fra) Credit Agricole                            0.31.16
117 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step-Innergetic                              0.31.17
118 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  0.31.42
119 Mads Kaggestad (Nor) Credit Agricole                                 0.31.64
120 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                 0.31.75
121 Florent Brard (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                   0.32.16
122 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                    0.32.21
123 Carlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Team L.P.R.                                  0.32.31
124 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              0.32.40
125 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                 0.32.65
126 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                      0.32.89
127 Jose A Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                      0.32.98
128 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                0.33.07
129 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française des Jeux                               0.33.11
130 Jose A Redondo Ramos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                0.33.32
131 Antonio Colom Mas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears               0.33.71
132 Sebastien Chavanel (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            0.34.67
133 Ian Mcleod (RSA) Française des Jeux                                  0.35.73
134 Isidro Nozal Vega (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                   0.35.83
135 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Credit Agricole                                0.36.13
136 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Phonak Hearing Systems                          0.36.50
137 Joseba Albizu Lizaso (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                         0.36.92
138 David Etxebarria Alkorta (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team            0.37.04
139 Mickael Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux                              0.38.19
140 Roger Hammond (GBr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               0.38.79
141 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                   0.38.84
142 Dario Andriotto (Ita) Liquigas                                       0.39.28
143 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears        0.39.39
144 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Team Milram                                   0.39.79
145 David De La Fuente (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        0.39.95
146 Jorg Ludewig (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                     0.40.04
147 Daniele De Paoli (Ita) Team L.P.R.                                   0.40.20
148 Eric Leblacher (Fra) Française des Jeux                              0.40.70
149 Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Française des Jeux                            0.41.58
150 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC                                      0.41.92
151 Stephane Goubert (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                               0.42.04
152 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                              0.42.53
153 Amael Moinard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                 0.42.67
154 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems                            0.42.94
155 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                             0.44.62
156 Niels Scheuneman (Ned) Rabobank                                      0.45.15
157 Guido Trentin (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir                             0.45.72
158 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team                                 0.46.41
159 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Team Milram                                    0.50.80
160 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Team CSC                                     0.52.33
161 Jose Angel Garrido Lima (Spa) Quick Step-Innergetic                  0.53.36
162 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Team L.P.R.                                    0.53.88
163 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) Saunier Duval-Prodir                           1.00.31
DNS Roy Sentjens (Bel) Rabobank                                                 
DNS Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                                  
1 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                 15 pts
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears          12
3 Bradley Mcgee (Aus) Française des Jeux                                    10
4 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                     9
5 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                                       8
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital                                       7
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                             6
8 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                     5
9 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team L.P.R.                                        4
10 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                               3
11 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                     2
12 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas                                          1
1 Caisse D'epargne-Illes Balears                                        13.46
2 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                                     0.02
3 Lampre-Fondital                                                        0.06
4 Davitamon - Lotto                                                      0.07
5 Liquigas                                                               0.11
6 Rabobank                                                               0.13
7 Team CSC                                                               0.14
8 Francaise Des Jeux                                                         
9 Credit Agricole                                                        0.15
10 Bouygues Telecom                                                      0.16
11 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                                    
12 Euskaltel - Euskadi                                                   0.18
13 Ag2R Prevoyance                                                           
14 Quick Step - Innergetic                                               0.21
15 T-Mobile Team                                                         0.22
16 Phonak Hearing Systems                                                    
17 Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone                                       0.23
18 Gerolsteiner                                                              
19 Liberty Seguros - Wurth Team                                              
20 Team L.P.R.                                                           0.24
21 Team Milram                                                           0.25

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