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Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) won stage 2 of the Tour de Suisse on Sunday as the peloton swept up the remnants of a daylong break just 2km from the finish.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) retained the overall lead after the 167km stage from Ascona to Sierre.
Joost Van Leijen (Vacansoleil), Aitor Hernandez Gutiérrez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Matthias Russ (Milram), Mathias Frank (BMC) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) escaped the peloton just 23km into the stage and built a gap of more than seven minutes.
Hernandez led the way over the day’s major obstacle, the 20km climb up Simplon Pass, a Category 1 climb midway into the stage.
But then Saxo Bank took the front, followed by HTC-Columbia, and the gap began coming down. With 18km to go it was under two minutes. Russ, Frank and Brutt shot ahead of their companions on the final climb of the day, a Cat. 3, but they couldn’t stay clear.
Brutt was the last man standing with 2km to go, but he too was swept up and Haussler took the sprint ahead of Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil). Oscar Freire (Rabobank) finished just off the podium in fourth position.
“The last hill, no one expected it to be that hard,” Haussler said. “There were a lot of attacks on the hill with the hill climbers always attacking. We were riding 30-40 guys and then a small bunch got back together ready to go but I looked around and I was the only one there so I went even harder because I didn’t have anyone to help me. But I knew I was going uphill for the last 200 meters and there was some headwind so I waited and waited for the right moment – yeah it was a nice win.”
Last month, Haussler was charged with drunk driving in Germany, where he is based, shortly after abandoning the Tour of California.
“My season has been disrupted by several things. For me, this victory has been like a liberation,” he said.
Cancellara finished in the leading pack to hold on to the yellow jersey.
“I am happy because I have achieved my second goal,” said Cancellara, who was looking forward to Monday’s third stage which takes the riders the 196.6km from Sierre to Schwarzenburg.
“I know that course to Schwarzenburg well because that is where I do my training. It’s going to be tough,” he said.
- 1. Heinrich Haussler Cervelo Test Team in 4:25:16
- 2. Pablo Urtasun Perez Euskaltel – Euskadi at s.t
- 3. Marco Marcato Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team at s.t.
- 4. Oscar Freire Gomez Rabobank at s.t.
- 5. Gerald Ciolek Team Milram at s.t.
- 1. Fabian Cancellara Team Saxo Bank in 4:35:37
- 2. Roman Kreuziger Liquigas-Doimo at 1
- 3. Tony Martin Team HTC – Columbia at 3
- 4. Dries Devenyns Quick Step at 10
- 5. Gustav Larsson Team Saxo Bank at 11