June 19, 2005
Tour de Suisse Stage 9 underway
Aitor Gonzalez, who animated yesterday's stage, is moving into the virtual yellow jersey at the Tour de Suisse this afternoon. With 33 kilometers to ride, climbing the hors categorie Furka Pass, Gonzalez threw off Jan Ullrich and Michael Rogers, who he trails by 36 seconds in the overall classification.
Rogers is a minute back now, riding in a group with Chris Horner, Koldo Gil, Daniel Atienza, Frank Schleck, and Leonardo Piepoli. Gonzalez, the Spanish climbing specialist, is going to have to make his time solo.
The Ullrich group is another 30 seconds behind Rogers.
At the summit, the gap is about 1:07. Rogers has 20 kms to make up 32 seconds on Gonzalez, or Aitor will take the Tour of Switzerland title. Scratch that -- there are bonus seconds to work out: 10, 6, and 4, so to be safe he needs to finish no more than 25 seconds behind.
The gap is hovering in the upper 50s, sometimes the low 1-minute range. Ullrich is now almost a minute behind Rogers, close to 2 minutes behind Gonzalez. There are only 5 kms to ride, so it looks like Gonzalez is going to make this work.
Brad McGee is 3 minutes plus back, and will lose his podium place at stage end.
Gonzalez finishes with 46 seconds in hand, to take the stage and the Tour of Switzerland!
Rogers made a show of sprinting for the bonus time, but Frank Schleck of CSC was second and Daniel Atienza third. Rogers comes third (with a time gap, no less), then Chris Horner is fourth and Leonardo Piepoli 5th. Ullrich's group came 58 seconds later, at 1:42 on Gonzalez.
Daily Peloton reports that Rogers threw a mini-tantrum at the finish, throwing his helmet down.