Suisse 5: Markus Fothen wins

Igor Anton leads overall

Germany's Markus Fothen, riding for the Gerolsteiner team, won the 190km fifth stage of the Tour of Switzerland into Caslano Wednesday.

Russian Serguei Ivanov crossed second at 50 seconds with Swiss Markus Zberg third at 57 seconds off the pace.

Spain's Igor Anton, of Euskaltel, retained the leader's yellow jersey for the third consecutive day after finishing in 15th position among a group of riders 57 seconds behind the leader.

The stage was marked by the spectacular fall by Luxembourg's Frank Schleck four kilometres from the line. The CSC rider had been challenging for the stage on Fothen's wheel when he fell on a tight bend, flying over a security barrier.

"I've lost the Tour of Switzerland," said Schleck, who suffered just scratches, but is now 2 minutes, 11 seconds behind Anton.

"It was really a horrible fall, I was following him and when I saw it I thought that the race was over for him," Fothen said later. "I'm relieved that he's not injured; it's almost a miracle. Victories are even nicer when you finish alone because you can savour it but this one was achieved under special circumstances. Obviously I would have preferred to duel with him for victory but that's how it is."

He added: "My aim coming here was to test myself for the Tour de France, where I want to do better than my 14th place in 2006."

France's Sylvain Chavanel of Cofidis opened the first attack of the day, making his move after 10km and was soon joined by a group of 14 riders who built up a lead of two minutes before splitting during the first category Lukmanier climb.

But during the difficult second category climb at Cademario some seven kilometres from the line Schelck attacked near the summit and along with Fothen had a 35-second lead going into the tight 15km descent before Schleck ran into trouble leaving Fothen to finish alone.

Anton admitted that the fall of Schleck gave him one less rival to think about.

"He (Schleck) was the strongest. Now that he has fallen I think my main rival for the jersey tomorrow is (Stijn) Devolder," said the Spaniard.

For a complete report with photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008

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