CSC’s Fabian Cancellara chased down a last-kilometer attack by FdJ’s Phillipe Gilbert, passed him and soloed to his second stage win in this year’s Tour de Suisse on Sunday. The stage finished near Cancellara’s hometown of Wohlen bei Bern, Switzerland.
Liquigas’s Roman Kreuziger finished in the main pack on the final day to retain the overall lead he took in Saturday’s time trial.
Cancellara, the world time trial champion who won stage 7 by solo’ing for the final five kilometers, showed again that he is unmatched in late-race attacks, which he also used to win this year’s Milan-San Remo and last year’s stage 3 of the Tour de France.
Cancellara had to sit on the ground after the finish line to recover from the effort.
“I’m speechless,” he said. “I tried to go with five kilometers left, but it just didn’t happen. I didn’t see this happening, but when Phillipe Gilbert went with one kilometer to go, I took a chance. It was perfect.”
The ninth stage of the Tour de Suisse, a 168-kilometer race from Altdorf to Bern, featured rolling terrain, with two Category 4 climbs, the first above the village of Hueb at 142.8km and a climb to Aargauerstalden, at 159.9km.
Five riders were away for much of the day, building up a maximum lead of about three minutes. None of the five — Darren Lill (BMC), Maarten Tjallingi (Silence-Lotto), Francisco Perez Sanches (Caisse d’Epargne), Herve Duclos Lasalle (Cofidis), and Rene Weissinger (Volksbank) — posed a threat to Kreuziger’s overall lead. In any case, the break began to disintegrate as the race entered the finishing loop and the sprinters’ teams began to wind up the pace.
Kreuziger looked comfortable in the race leader’s yellow jersey for most of the day, ably protected by his team.
“It’s a big win for me,” Kreuziger said. “I was overwhelmed by the stage win yesterday. I was worried about today, but it turned out to be a fairly easy day.
“I have the feeling that this is the beginning of my professional career. It is by far the most important success since my junior world champion road title in 2004. My goal was to get to the Tour de France in good shape, but during the Tour of Switzerland I felt that I was already in good form. Perhaps I’m a little bit in advance of myself.”
Runner-up Andreas Klöden (Astana) found the young Czech’s performance impressive.
“After my illness in the Giro d’Italia, I started this race without real preparation. The bad weather in the first days did not help me, but I survived,” said Klöden. “Twice I lost about twenty seconds. It could have made the difference, but I won’t complain. Kreuziger is a big talent.”
Top 10 overall
1. Roman Kreuziger, (Cz), Liquigas
2. Andreas Klöden, (G), Astana, at 49
3. Igor Anton , (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:55
4. Damiano Cunego, (I), Lampre, at 2:11
5. Thomas Lovkvist, (S), Team High Road, at 2:37
6. Andy Schleck, (Lux), CSC, at s.t.
7. Kim Kirchen, (Lux), Team High Road, at 2:58
8. Markus Fothen, (G), Gerolsteiner, at 4:08
9. Christian Knees, (G), Milram, at 4:18
10. Laurens Tendam, (Nl), Rabobank, at 4:26
Preliminary stage results:
1. Fabian Cancellara, (SUI/CSC), at s.t.
2. Philippe Gilbert, (BEL/FDJ) at 00.
3. Daniel Moreno, (ESP/GCE) at 04.
4. Matteo Tossatto, (ITA/QST) at 05.
5. Markus Zberg, (SUI/GST) at 08.
6. Greg Van, Avermaet at (BEL/SIL)
7. Serguei Ivanov, (RUS/AST) at 08.
8. JosŽ Joaquin, Rojas at Gil
9. Alessandro Ballan, (ITA/LAM) at 08.
10. Erik Zabel, (GER/MRM) at s.t.
11. Leonardo Duque, (COL/COF) at s.t.
12. Sebastien Hinault, (FRA/C.A) at s.t.
13. Stuart O’grady, (AUS/CSC) at s.t.
14. Vincent Jme, (FRA/BTL) at s.t.
15. Martin Elmiger, (SUI/A2R) at s.t.
16. Pietro Caucchioli, (ITA/C.A) at s.t.
17. Mathieu Perget, (FRA/GCE) at s.t.
18. Alexandre Usov, (BLR/A2R) at s.t.
19. Damiano Cunego, (ITA/LAM) at s.t.
20. Laurens Ten, Dam (NED/RAB)