BMC's Marcus Burghardt claimed his first major win of the season when he dominated the rain-hit fifth stage of the Tour of Switzerland Wednesday.
Fellow German Tony Martin, of HTC-Columbia, finished with the main peloton 46secs behind Burghardt to keep a hold of the race leader's yellow jersey a day ahead of the race's key mountain stage.
Former Ghent-Wevelgem winner Burghardt jumped into a breakaway which formed after 10km and with none of the five stage leaders posing a threat to the race lead they were allowed a day of freedom in the rain.
With a little over 10km of the 172.5km stage remaining and the peloton getting steadily closer Italian Angelo Furlan of Lampre and Spaniard Javier Aramendia of Euskaltel dropped off the back.
That allowed Burghardt, Dutchman Martijn Maaskant of Garmin and Italian Daniel Oss of Liquigas to drive for the finish line unhindered and it was Burghardt who prevailed at the finish line after attacking at the one-kilometre to go flag.
Burghardt, whose early season has been compromised by an injury sustained at the Tour of California, said he had hand-picked the stage for a win.
"I had a look at the profile of the stage and I thought it would be perfect for a breakaway," said the 26-year-old German.
"I'm really happy. I fractured my elbow on stage six of the Tour of California and four days before the start of the Tour of Switzerland I wasn't even sure I'd participate."
Behind the leaders Gerben Lowik was involved in an accident as the peloton rode through a village 40km from the finish, the Dutchman sliding off the road and crashing into four children and an adult.
Lowik and the five spectators were taken to hospital although none of them are suffering from serious injury, according to organisers.
Thursday's sixth stage is a 213 km ride from Meiringen and La Punt in the east of Switzerland and features the ascension of two beyond classified (hors categorie) climbs - the Sustenpass and Albulapass - and one category one climb, the Oberalppass.
© AFP 2010
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