By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Telekom’s Erik Zabel won the ninth stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Wednesday, 166.8km between Sion and Lausanne, Switzerland. Zabel beat out Gerolsteiner’s Saulius Ruskis and Domo-Farm Frites’ Robbie McEwen in the mass field sprint finish. U.S. Postal Service’s Lance Armstrong retained the leader’s yellow jersey with only one stage to go.
Zabel profitted from the work of the Saeco, Domo and Cofidis teams who chased down lone escapee Bert Grabsch (Phonak) before the finish. Grabsch had escaped along with Rolf Huser (Coast) in the town of Martigny, but the German dropped Huser on the one main climb of the day, the Col des Mosses at 77km. Grabsch was finally reeled in 12km from the finish, setting up the win for Zabel, who also won the second stage of the race.
Armstrong had a tranquil ride, finishing in the main peloton in 36th place, in the same time as Zabel. With only a 175.9km finishing stage around Lausanne on Thursday, the two-time defending Tour de France champion seems to be a lock as the first American to win the Swiss Tour since Andy Hampsten won back-to-back in 1986 and 1987.
Tour of Switzerland, Stage 9. June 27.
1. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom, 4:02:17.
2. Saulius Ruskis (Lit), Gerolsteiner
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Domo-Farm Frites
4. Robert Sassone (F), Cofidis
5. Gerrit Glomser (A), Post Swiss
6. Jean-Patrick Nazon (F), La Française des Jeux
7. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Post Swiss
8. Paolo Bettini (I), Mapei-Quick Step
9. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service
10. René Haselbacher (A), Gerolsteiner
11. Nicolas Jalabert (F), CSC-World Online
12. Massimiliano Mori (I), Saeco
13. Giancarlo Raimondi (I), Liquigas-Pata
14. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Tacconi Sports-Vini Caldirola
15. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank, all s.t.
32. Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service
35. Christian Vande Velde (USA), U.S. Postal Service
36. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service
39. Gilberto Simoni (I), Lampre-Daikin
64. Tyler Hamilton (USA), U.S. Postal Service
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 31:00:52.
2. Gilberto Simoni (I), Lampre-Daikin at 1:02.
3. Wladimir Belli (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 1:34.
4. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank, at 2:47.
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Telekom, at 2:48.
6. Georg Totschnig (A), Gerolsteiner, at 2:58.
7. Juan Manuel Garate (Sp), Lampre-Daikin, at 3:30.
8. Manuel Beltran (Sp), Mapei-Quick Step, at 3:37.
9. Laurent Jalabert (F), CSC-World Online, at 3:46.
10. Daniel Schnider (Swi), La Française des Jeux, at 5:51.
11. Inigo Cuesta (Sp), Cofidis, at 6:13.
12. Daniel Atienza (Sp), Cofidis, at 6:16.
13. Tyler Hamilton (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 7:23.
14. Udo Bolts (G), Telekom, at 7:52.
15. Oskar Camenzind (Swi), Lampre-Daikin, at 8:48.
34. Vande Velde, at 25:30
48. Hincapie, at 33:54
80. Ekimov, at 51:37
87. Zabel, at 55:54