Ullrich Wins Stage 1 of Swiss Tour
Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) has won Stage 1 of the Tour de Suisse. Ullrich outsprinted four breakaway companions to win the flattish, 176-km run from Sursee to Beromunster in 4:07:56. Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) finished second, and Fabian Jeker (Saunier Duval) took third.
At 30 km, the day's big break occurred. Thirty-nine riders sallied off of the front. The escapees included Ullrich, defending champion Alexander Vinokourov, Giuseppe Guerini, and Santiago Botero (all from T-Mobile); Alexandre Moos and Camenzind (both from Phonak); Bobby Julich (CSC); Dario Cioni (Fassa Bortolo); Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner); Pavel Tonkov (Vini Caldirola); Axel Merckx (Lotto); and Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick Step). The bunch did not chase immediately, and the gaggle forged a four-minute lead by 76 km.
Chocolade Jacques, which had no riders in the break, began to chase, and Alessio joined them. The bunch made inroads in the break's advantage, and when Lampre joined the chase, the gap narrowed to 2:10 with 55 km left. The break picked up the pace, however, and the peloton stopped chasing. The break's lead grew to 18 minutes.
On the day's first climb, the Category 4 Waldhaus (140 km), David Canada (Saunier Duval) and Steve Zampieri (Vini Caldirola) forged an 18-second lead over their companions. With 25 km remaining, the pair led the chasers by 0:21.
Ullrich attacked and took Camenzind with him. The pair bridged up to the leaders within two km. The quartet led the chase group by 0:45.
With 13 km left, the pursuit had closed to within 0:12 of the leaders. On the second ascent of the Waldhaus, Jeker bridged up to the leaders. The chase lost momentum.
In the last km, Canada led the five, with Ullrich, Camenzind, and Jeker, respectively, behind him. With 250 m left, Ullrich lunged into the lead and held off Camenzind to win.
In the overall, Ullrich leads Camenzind by 0:02 and Jeker by 0:06. Stage 2 will be a flat, 169.9-km stage from Durrenroth to Rheinfelden. The stage should end in a bunch sprint, but Stage 1 should have, also. Will we see a sprint tomorrow? If so, who will take it? For the answers to these questions, check in at www.roadcycling.com!
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