PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Liquigas-Bianchi's Michael Albasini gave the host nation its first success in this year's Tour of Switzerland when he just hung on to edge out Gregory Rast (Phonak) and Ren Haselbacher on stage five into Altdorf. The trio were part of a seven-rider group that went clear with 125km to the finish and came in just 38 seconds ahead of the bunch.
There was no change in the overall standings. Jan Ullrich maintained his narrow two-second lead over Brad McGee going into tomorrow's second mountain stage of the race. Although featuring the hors catgorie Oberalp climb early on in the stage, tomorrow's decisive action will take place on the final first-cat ascent to the finish in Arosa.
Apart from Albasini's victory, the main news on the stage was the non-appearance of Alejandro Valverde on this morning's start line in Bad Zurzach. Meanwhile, the sponsor of Valverde's Illes Balears team has announced that its financial commitment will be reduced from 7 million euros to 2.5 million euros over the next two seasons as it switches most of its investment to a Menorcan basketball team.
Illes Balears team manager Eusebio Unzue has admitted he knew nothing about the basketball deal before he read about it in the press, but his team is believed to be negotiating with sub-sponsor Caisse d'Epargne, who are expected to take over the lead role as sponsor from Illes Balears. This deal is likely to put the future of the team's four Balearic riders in doubt as their contracts all run out at the end of this season and Caisse d'Epargne is reportedly keen on Unzue and his team recruiting some French riders.
Stage 5, Bad Zurzach-Altdorf
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas-Bianchi 172.1km in 3.48.01 (45.29kph)
2 Gregory Rast (Swi) Phonak
3 Ren Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
4 Allan Johansen (Den) CSC
5 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) Fassa Bortolo
6 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Crdit Agricole
7 Maarten den Bakker (Hol) Rabobank
8 Aurlien Clerc (Swi) Phonak 0.38
9 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Domina Vacanze
10 Marcus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 17.02.29
2 Brad McGee (Aus) Franaise des Jeux 0.02
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.18
4 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.12
5 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 1.14
6 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval 1.25
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 1.31
8 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC 1.41
9 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step 1.47
10 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel 1.52
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM