Columbia's Albasini wins stage five, Valjavec holds overall
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Columbia's Albasini wins stage five, Valjavec holds overall

by Agence France-Presse at 1:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour de Suisse
Swiss rider Michael Albasini of the Columbia team won the fifth stage of the Tour of Switzerland, a 202 km ride from Staefa in Switzerland to Serfaus in Austria.

Slovenian Tadej Valjavec of the AG2R team retained the race lead, even managing to drop his biggest rival on Wednesday - Luxembourg's Andy Schleck - down the overall standings.

Valjavec now leads Swiss rider Oliver Zaugg, of Liquigas, by 14secs with four stages remaining.

Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara of Saxo-Bank battled hard in the closing few hundred metres to close the gap to Albasini, but the big Swiss could only finish runner-up.

Italian Damiano Cunego of Lampre took third place as the 28-year-old Albasini grabbed his second stage win of the race, after his maiden win here in 2005, to make it an impressive 38 wins this season for Columbia.

The leaders were among the main pack which earlier caught up with a rogue pair who had sped in front on the descent from the 1793 metre Arbergpas, then over the border into Austria.

On the final incline up to the the finish line here, Germany's Tony Martin of Columbia attacked on several occasions, but he was soon overhauled, as was Estonian Rein Taaramae of Cofidis after his late surge to the front.

The racers are back in Switzerland for Thursday's sixth stage, a 177km ride from Oberriet to Bad Zurzach.

The nine-stage race, finishing in Berne on Sunday, is the last big warm-up for the Tour de France which starts on July 4 at Monaco

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