By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Italian rider Stefano Garzelli (Mapei-Quick Step) came home alone in Naters, Switzerland, after escaping for 135km to win Monday’s 156.5km seventh stage of the Tour of Switzerland from Locarno. The 27-year-old, who won the 2000 Giro d’Italia, crossed the line 4:22 ahead of compatriot and teammate Michele Bartoli (Mapei-Quick Step), while Czech Tomas Konecny (Domo-Farm Frites) was third 7:27 behind and just ahead of American George Hincapie (U.S. Postal Service).
Fassa Bortolo’s Wladimir Belli retained his one second overall lead over this year’s Giro champion, Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Daikin), with America’s two-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong third, 25 seconds adrift.
Garzelli made his break after just 21km and was initially helped by his Mapei teammate Bartoli until the former world No. 1 lost touch with him on the start of the climb to Col de Nufenen.
However, Armstrong’s US Postal team and Belli’s Fassa Bortolo outfit were not concerned by Garzelli’s individual antics and concentrated on reining in Austrian Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner), who started the stage in 10th overall just under two minutes behind the Italian and at one point was on course to be the overall leader.
Their efforts worked as they caught Totschnig 300 meters from the line to leave Armstrong well-placed to win the race and gain a huge boost ahead of this year’s Tour de France which starts in just under two weeks.
Tour of Switzerland, Stage 7. June 25
1. Stefano Garzelli (I), Mapei-Quick Step, 156.6km in 3:59:13 (39,278 kph)
2. Michele Bartoli (I). Mapei-Quick Step, at 4:23.
3. Tomas Koneckny (Tch), Domo-Farm Frites, at 7:28.
4. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service
5. Paolo Bettini (I), Mapei-Quick Step
6. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis
7. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank
8. Markus Zberg (Swi), Rabobank
9. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Telekom
10. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Post Swiss
11. Christian Vandevelde (USA), U.S. Postal Service
12. Alexandre Moos (Swi), KIA-Suisse
13. Geert Verheyen (B), Rabobank
14. Niki Aebersold (Swi), Coast
15. Tyler Hamilton (USA), U.S. Postal Service
1. Wladimir Belli (I), Fassa Bortolo, 26:10:52.
2. Gilberto Simoni (I), Lampre-Daikin, at 0:01.
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 0:25.
4. Manuel Beltran (Sp, Mapei-Quick Step, at 30.
5. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank, at 0:31.
6. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre-Daikin, at 0:39.
7. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Telekom, at 1:09.
8. Laurent Jalabert (F), CSC-World Online, at 1:19.
9. Daniel Schnider (Swi), La Française des Jeux, at 1:42.
10. Georg Totschnig (A), Gerolsteiner, at 1:50.
11. Inigo Cuesta (Sp), Cofidis, at 2:48.
12. Oskar Camenzind (Swi), Lampre-Daikin, at 3:53.
13. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, at 4:23.
14. Marcellino Garcia (Sp), CSC-World Online, at 4:28.
15. Gerrit Glomser (A), Post Swiss, at 4:53.
22. Hamilton, at 6:21
33. Vande Velde, at 16:31
46. Hincapie, at 26:24