By VeloNews Interactive
Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli of Italy won the opening 6.9km prologue of the six-day Tour of Romandie in Pfaffnau, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Saeco rider was clocked in 9:00.63 between the towns of St. Urban and Pfaffnau to lead compatriot Dario Frigo by 0.83 and Australia’s Bradley McGee by 1.15.
“I didn’t think I had the right rhythm. The first 4km uphill really broke my legs,” said Savoldelli, who won last year’s prologue here, but does not feel in top form this time around. “I didn’t take part this year in the Tour of the Basque Country, which is a really hard race and I suffered at last week’s Tour of Trentino.”
Savoldelli was pushed hard by Paris-Nice winner Frigo and the Fassa Bartolo team, who are nevertheless competing without world No. 1, Belgian cyclist Francesco Casagrande.
“It’s much too early to devise a battle plan,” said Savoldelli. “But I think everything will be decided during Friday’s time trial at Payerne.”
Copyright AFP 2001
TOUR DE ROMANDIE, Pfaffnau, Switzerland, May 8-13
1. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Saeco, 6.9km in 9 minutes, 00.63 seconds; 2. Dario Frigo (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0.83; 3. Bradley McGee (Aus), La Francaise Des Jeux, at 1.15, 4. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), Festina, at :05; 5. Andrei Teteriouk (Kaz), Mercury-Viatel, at 0:9; 6. David Plaza (Sp), Festina, at 0:11; 7. Rik Verbrugghe (B), Lotto-Adecco, same time; 8. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, at 0:12; 9. Wladimir Belli (I), Fassa Bortolo, at :15; 10. Yoann Le Boulanger (F), Cofidis, same time; Others; 17. Chann McRae (USA), Mercury-Viatel, at 22.70; 23. Pavel Tonkov (Rus), Mercury-Viatel, at 25.13; 57. Jan Ullrich (G), Telekom, at 36.77; 67. Chris Wherry (USA), Mercury-Viatel, at 41.79; 73. Chris Horner (USA), Mercury-Viatel, at 42.11; 84. Kevin Livingston (USA), Telekom, at 46.71; 87. Mario Cipollini (I), Saeco, at 47.84.