Russian rider Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d’Epargne) still leads the 71st Tour de Suisse, after another Russian, Vladimir Gusev (Discovery Channel) handily won stage 7, a full two minutes-plus in front of American Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto).
Gusev was part of an 11-man move that went clear with 80km to go. Over the Sustenpass, it built up a lead of five minutes over the peloton, where Caisse d’Epargne kept things under control for its leader Vladimir Efimkin. The front group presented no real threat to Efimkin, so
On the Grimselpass with 25km to go, Martin Elmiger (Ag2r), Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) and Gusev attacked the rest of the break, before Gusev went on his own a few kilometres later. Chris Horner gave chase, but the American was unable to match the pace of the Russian and conceded just over two minutes by the finish. Andreas Klöden (Astana) crossed for third at 2’37.
“I still can’t believe it,” said Gusev, who took a tumble over his handle bars after breaking too abruptly as he crossed the finish line. “I worked hard on those climbs, and especially on the last one. My team director told me I could break away and win. I believed in him. I followed his directions and I was able to win.
“I am very excited about this win,” he was quoted by <i>ThePaceline.com</i> as saying. “To win a mountain-top finish in a Pro Tour race is incredible and I want to thank Johan and all the directors for believing in me. I love this team. My teammates and the staff are the best.”
Team CSC’s Frank Schleck lost a bit of time during the sixth stage of Tour de Suisse and is now fifth in the general classification.
“It was looking good until about five or six hundred meters before the finish,” CSC director Kim Andersen said to <i>team-csc.com</i>. “José Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval) had been dropped so it looked like Frank was well on his way to an overall second place. But he was dropped twice – the first time he made his way back no worries, but when they increased the pace for the second time he wasn’t able to keep up.
“Of course there’s still a chance that Fränk could win this race,” Andersen added. “Tomorrow’s stage is a tough one and it might open up for something and also he might do well in the time trial on Sunday.”
Efimkin leads the overall with 25:55:08. Luxembourg’s Kim Kirchen is second, 0:24 back, with Vladimir Karpez of Russia is third, 0:30 behind.
Saturday’s rolling eighth stage takes riders 152.5 kilometers (94.7 miles) from Innertkirchen to Schwarzsee, and features the fourth-category climb Weissenstein.
1 Vladimir Gusev (Rus, Discovery Channel) 03:53:50 (32.25 km/h)
2 Chris Horner (USA, Predictor-Lotto) 00:02:02
3 Andreas Klöden (Ger, Astana) 00:02:37
4 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita, Lampre-Fondital)
5 Beat Zberg (Swi, Gerolsteiner) 00:03:00
6 Kim Kirchen (Lux, T-Mobile) 00:04:09
7 Vladimir Karpets (Rus, Caisse d’Epargne) 00:04:15
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita, Lampre-Fondital)
9 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus, Caisse d’Epargne)
10 Matteo Carrara (Ita, Unibet.com) 00:04:20
11 Gerrit Glomser (Aut, Volksbank) 00:04:22
12 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe, Unibet.com) 00:04:27
13 Stijn Devolder (Bel, Discovery Channel)
14 Frank Schleck (Lux, Team CSC)
15 Thomas Dekker (Ned, Rabobank)
Overall classification after stage 7
1 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus, Caisse d’Epargne) 25:55:08 (37.4 km/h)
2 Kim Kirchen (Lux, T-Mobile) 00:00:24
3 Vladimir Karpets (Rus, Caisse d’Epargne) 00:00:30
4 Matteo Carrara (Ita, Unibet.com) 00:00:31
5 Frank Schleck (Lux, Team CSC) 00:00:33
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 00:00:57
7 Stijn Devolder (Bel, Discovery Channel) 00:02:02
8 Gilberto Simoni (Ita, Saunier Duval – Prodir) 00:02:03
9 Gerrit Glomser (Aut, Volksbank) 00:02:04
10 José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa, Saunier Duval – Prodir) 00:02:06
11 Rigoberto Uran (Col, Unibet.com) 00:02:42
12 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa, Caisse d’Epargne) 00:03:53
13 Hubert Dupont (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) 00:03:54
14 Andreas Klöden (Ger, Astana) 00:04:39
15 Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe, Unibet.com) 00:05:30