Freire Takes Stage 1 of Tour de Suisse
Three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 1 of the Tour de Suisse. The Spaniard took a bunch sprint to win the rolling, 146-km ride that started and finished in Langnau in Emmenthal in 3:42:35. Martin Elmiger (Ag2r) finished second, and Kim Karchen (High Road) took third.
On the first of three ascents of the 1103-m-high Chuderhusi, 23 riders escaped. The break was too big, however, and it had good riders in it such as Jens Voigt (CSC), Fabian Cancellara (CSC), and Robbie McEwen (Silence). The bunch shut down the move before the summit.
On the descent, David Loosli (Lampre) attacked, and Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) and Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) joined him. At 50 km, the trio led the peloton by 9:40. The lead yoyoed, but with 55 km remaining, the fugitives led the field by 8:16 and looked as if they could be winners.
The peloton, however, woke up. High Road, Rabobank, and Quick Step went to the front. The escapees' advantage fell to 5:50 with 40 km left and 3:35 13 km later. At the summit of the second ascent of the Chuderhusi (127 km), the break led the bunch by about 1:30.
Milram and Silence pitched in at the front, and the leading trio's advantage continued to evaporate. With two km remaining and the catch imminent, the break members started attacking each other. The bunch reeled in the break just before the one-km banner. The stage came down to the cavalry charge, which Freire won.
In the overall, Freire leads Elmiger and Loosli by 0:04. Freire believes that he will lose his overall lead during Stage 2, and he is probably right. The rugged, 197-km ride from Langnau in Emmenthal to Flumserberge will end with a Category 1 ascent that should be too much for Freire but just right for Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Maxim Iglinsky (Astana), or Andy Schleck (CSC). Who will win the stage? Who will take the overall lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!