By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Italian Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola) took the overall race lead at the Tour of Switzerland after scoring the stage win in a two-up finishing sprint with breakaway companion Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner). Bortolami’s win came on the third stage of the Swiss race, 162.7km from Reinach to Baar. Australian Robbie McEwen (Domo-Farm Frites) won the field sprint for third, 2:53 behind Bortolami.
Bortolami and Wrolich escaped at the 70km mark, from a group of six that also included Laurent Jalabert (CSC-World Online), and at one point extended their advantage to 9:19 over the peloton. At that point, the U.S. Postal Service team of Lance Armstrong, race leader at the start of the day, went to the front to lead the chase.
However, the two escapees survived to Baar with a cushion of nearly three minutes after their 92km breakaway. With 600 meters to go, Bortolami, the Tour of Flanders winner this past spring, launched his sprint into the wind, timing his move perfectly and taking the win.
Bortolami now leads the overall standings, six seconds ahead of Wrolich and 2:35 in front of Armstrong. On Friday, stage 4 will take the racers 144km from Baar to Wildhaus, ending with a 13km, second-category climb.
Tour of Switzerland, Stage 3, Reinach-Baar. June 21.
1. Gianluca Bortolami (I), Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola, 162.7km in 3:46:29; 2. Peter Wrolich (A), Gerolsteiner, s.t.; 3. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Domo-Farm Frites, at 2:53; 4. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis; 5. Saulius Ruskys (Lit), Gerolsteiner; 6. Rob Hunter (SA), Lampre-Daikin; 7. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom; 8. Jean Patrick-Nazon (F), La Française des Jeux; 9. Giancarlo Raimondi (I), Liquigas-Pata; 10. Emmanuel Magnien (I), all s.t.
19. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service; 20. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service; 28. Cedric Vasseur (F), U.S. Postal Service; 40. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service; 46. Tyler Hamilton (USA), U.S. Postal Service; 71. Christian Vande Velde (USA), U.S. Postal Service, all s.t.
1. Bortolami; 2. Wrolich, at 0:06; 3. Armstrong, at 2:35; 4. Servais Knaven (Nl), Domo Farm Frites, at 2:38; 5. Laurent Jalabert (F), CSC-World Online, at 2:40; 6. Hamilton; 7. Ekimov, both s.t.; 8. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank, at 2:41; 9. Hincapie, at 2:44; 10. Grischa Niermann (G), s.t.