Botero renaissance at Romandy

Incredibly, Santiago Botero's last victory before this week was the world time trial title in 2002.

Incredibly, Santiago Botero's last victory before this week was the world time trial title in 2002.

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The sudden and very surprising return to form of Santiago Botero was confirmed when the Colombian won the closing time trial at the Tour of Romandy to seal overall victory in the 11th ProTour event of the season. The former world time trial champion knocked 25 seconds off the time set by Brad McGee, with Oscar Pereiro taking third and overnight leader Damiano Cunego fourth, a result that left Cunego 33 seconds down on Botero overall.

Bizarrely, Botero's time of 26-29 exactly matched the winning time produced by former Phonak rider Tyler Hamilton to win this race last year. With Floyd Landis also in time trial winning form in the recent Tour de Georgia, and Pereiro and Alexandre Moos also riding strongly, Phonak look well set for the upcoming races and the Tour de France.

Liberty Seguros' hopes that stage four winner Alberto Contador would produce a winning performance were dashed when the 22 year old came in 14th to finish fourth overall. "He wasn't feeling good and he should have finished higher than 14th," said Liberty manager Manolo Saiz. "But he is still young and he is still lacking the kind of strength needed for courses like this, but he has had a good week and the balance is very positive.

"He has been competing in February, March and April and is now 10th in the ProTour. If he hadn't suffered bad luck at Paris-Nice we would be talking about him being the third or fourth ranked rider based on his consistency in stage races this season." Contador will now undergo one of Saiz's celebrated periods of 'active rest' before returning to competition at the Dauphin Libr next month.

Stage 5, Lausanne time trial

1 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 20.4km in 26.29 (46.21kph)
2 Brad McGee (Aus) Francaise des Jeux 0.25
3 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 0.35
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.36
5 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.39
6 Thomas Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 0.49
7 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
8 Dario Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.50
9 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros
10 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 0.52

Final overall

1 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 15.58.02
2 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.33
3 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 1.18
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1.22
5 Marco Fertonani (Ita) Domina Vacanze 1.40
6 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak 2.02
7 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 2.29
8 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel 2.31
9 Daniel Atienza (Spa) Cofidis 2.34
10 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak 2.57

ProTour standings

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 131
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 112
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 95
4 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 94
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 86
6 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 80
7 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 75
7 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 75
9 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 72
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros 67

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