Lotto’s Robbie McEwen won a sprint finish to take his second stage victory at the Tour of Switzerland on Tuesday.
McEwen finished the fourth stage of the Swiss tour, a 211.6km race from Le Sentier to Batterkinden, ahead of Fassa Bortolo’s Francesco Chicchi and Olaf Pollack of Gerolsteiner.
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) continues to hold the overall race lead. Ullrich, a main threat to Lance Armstrong in next month’s Tour de France, is two seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Oscar Camenzind.
Chicchi thought he had won the stage and lifted his arms in a victory salute but McEwen came through on the right hand side to beat him by centimetres.
This fifth victory of the season for McEwen had not been easy.
“I was blocked in 250 meters from the line and I had to find a way out but I believed I could win right till the end,” McEwen said after the race.
The 2002 winner of the Tour de France green points jersey, for the highest-placed daily finisher, does not know whether he will finish the Tour of Switzerland because of three mountain stages coming up.
“I hope to finish, but if I see I’m exhausting myself in the process, I will pull out to save myself for the Tour de France,” McEwen added.
The stage was marked by a mass fall which forced five riders to retire, including Switzerland’s Markus Zberg, Germany’s Robert Forster and Goncalvo Jose Amorim of Portugal.
Forster only dislocated his shoulder and tests showed Zberg’s back injury was less serious than feared and should no problems crop up in the next few days he will be able to ride in the Tour de France. The other two riders to retire were Germany’s Tobias Steinhauser, a teammate of race leader Jan Ullrich, and Latvian Andris Nauduzs.
Wednesday’s 101-mile stage starts in Baetterkinden and climbs into the Alps, finishing at Adelboden.
Stage 4 Vallee de Joux to Baetterkinden:
1. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo, 4:51.50
2. Francesco Chicchi (I) Fassa Bortolo
3. Olaf Pollack (G) Gerolsteiner
4. Fabio Baldato (I) Alessio-Bianchi
5. Paolo Bettini (I) Quick Step-Davitamon
6. Robert Hunter (SA) Rabobank
7. Fabrizio Guidi (I) Team CSC
8. Davy Commeyne (B) MrBookmaker.com-Palmans
9. Gerrit Glomser (Aus) Saeco 10. Martin Elmiger (Switzerland) Phonak, all same timeOverall standings:
1. Jan Ullrich (G) T-Mobile, 16:53.39
2. Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Phonak, at 0:02
3. Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval, at 0:06
4. Steve Zampieri (Swi) Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
5. David Canada Garcia (Sp) Saunier Duval, at 0:08
6. Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC, at 0:24
7. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo, at 0:25
8. Dario Cioni (Iy) Fassa Bortolo
9. Alexandre Kolobnev (Rus) Domina Vacanze
10. Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak, all same time
Armstrong vows legal fight
Lance Armstrong, seeking a record sixth consecutive Tour de France in July, has vowed to take legal action over a new book about him which alleges he used banned drugs.
Tailwind Sports, owner and operator of Armstrong’s US Postal Service Cycling team, said Armstrong, 33, will begin libel proceedings against the authors and publishers of “L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong.”
“Lance Armstrong utterly denies ever having taken any performance-enhancing drugs,” a statement said. “Accordingly, Lance Armstrong has instructed his lawyers to immediately institute libel proceedings.”
The book focuses on statements attributed to Emma O’Reilly, a soigneur who worked with Armstrong from 1998-2000. O’Reilly claims Armstrong used the banned blood booster EPO.
O’Reilly also alleges that Armstrong asked her to dispose of bags with syringes after the 1998 Tour of Holland and that in May 1999, as Armstrong trained in the Pyrenees, O’Reilly said she was asked to drive to Spain to pick up drugs which she handed to Armstrong in a parking lot.
O’Reilly claims in the book Armstrong asked her to use makeup to cover up syringe marks on his arm at a Tour de France medical checkup in 1999.
Armstrong, a Texan, has neither tested positive for banned substances nor faced any bans over doping.
O’Reilly, 33, left the US Postal team in 2000 on apparently good terms, with ex-Postal coach Mark Gorski praising her.
Kevin Dessart, a spokesman for long-time Armstrong coach Chris Carmichael, said doping allegations anger Armstrong.
“Chris can attest that Lance has never taken any performance enhancing drugs,” Dessart said. “Because of the legal matters involved, we are limited in what we can say.”
Tailwind Sports, owner and operator of the U.S. Postal Service CyclingTeam, has issued the following announcement regarding the pending publication of “LA Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong”
Date: June 14, 2004
To: News Desks and Legal Departments
RE: LANCE ARMSTRONG – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lance Armstrong has reacted with concern and dismay at the false allegationsmade by David Walsh, Chief Sports Writer of the Sunday Times. The allegations appear in a forthcoming book entitled ‘LA Confidential’,co-written with Pierre Ballester and to be published in France. Extractsfrom the book have appeared in L’Express and some of the book’sallegations were repeated in yesterday’s Sunday Times.Lance Armstrong utterly denies ever having taken any performance enhancingdrugs.Accordingly, Lance Armstrong has instructed his lawyers to immediatelyinstitute libel proceedings1) In the High Court in London against the Sunday Timesand David Walsh seeking an injunction and substantial damages
2) In Paris, against David Walsh, Pierre Ballester, thepublishers of ‘LA Confidential’ and the publishers of L’Express.Proceedings will be filed in the High Court tomorrow.
Issued by Schillings, Royalty House