Saxo Bank’s Frank Schleck won the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday ahead of RadioShack’s Lance Armstrong after the ninth and final stage, a 26.9km time-trial won by Germany’s Tony Martin.
Schleck finished 12 seconds ahead of Armstrong in the overall standings, with Saxo Bank teammate Jacob Fuglsang third at 17 seconds.
Dutch rider Robert Gesink, who had been wearing the leader’s yellow jersey going into the final stage, finished fifth overall at 27 seconds after finishing over two minutes off Martin’s winning time.
Schleck is not considered a time-trial specialist and admitted he had benefited from the advice of Saxo Bank teammate Fabian Cancellara, the three-time world champion in the discipline, to post the 13th best time at 1:14 behind Martin.
“I was a little bit surprised myself that it went so well but the good thing about being on the same team as Fabian Cancellara is that you get to know a trick or two about time trialling and he said I could pull it off before the stage,” said Schleck.
Schleck was also quick to pay tribute to compatriot Kim Kirchen, the Katusha team rider who has been in a coma for two days after suffering a heart problem.
“Winning here so close to the Tour de France means a lot to me but my thoughts go to Kim Kirchen and his family who are having a hard time right now,” he said.
Martin clocked 32:21 to finish 17 seconds ahead of Olympic time trial champion Cancellara in the stage around Liestal.
Just two weeks before the start of the Tour de France, Armstrong finished 11th, 1:09 behind the stage winner.
Armstrong admitted recently he is trying to brush up on his time trialling after a series of mediocre performances the past year.
And he was buoyed by his performance.
“It was a really hard time trial, with nowhere to really rest. You just had to keep pedalling constantly,” he said.
“I felt good. I had good legs today.”
He added: “There were a lot of strong riders here this week and so it’s given me a good indication of what’s going to happen (at the Tour).
“Now, I just have to stay in good shape and try to gain that extra little percentage.”
- 1. Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) 32:21
- 2. Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), at 0:17
- 3. Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions), at 0:29
- 4. Gustav Erik Larsson (Saxo Bank), at 0:48
- 5. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), at 0:48
- 6. Andreas Klöden (RadioShack), at 0:52
- 7. Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank), at 0:52
- 8. Maxime Monfort (HTC-Columbia), at 0:57
- 9. Woeter Poels (Vacansoleil), at 1:02
- 10. Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), at 1:07
- 1. Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank)
- 2. Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), at 0:12
- 3. Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank), at 0:18
- 4. Steve Morabito (BMC), at 0:24
- 5. Robert Gesink (Rabobank), at 0:27
- 6. Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia), at 0:28
- 7. Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d’Epargne), at 0:33
- 8. Andreas Klöden (RadioShack), at 0:49
- 9. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Katusha), at 1:09
- 10. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), at 1:14