Tour of Switzerland: Frank Schleck beats Lance Armstrong by 12 seconds to claim overall title
Texan puts five seconds into Saxo Bank rider in final day's ITT, but it's not quite enough
Lance Armstrong has completed his preparations for the Tour de France, which the Team RadioShack rider is looking to win for an unprecedented eighth time, by clinching second place in the Tour of Switzerland, 12 seconds behind Team Saxo Bank’s Fränk Schleck.
The Luxembourg rider finished 13th quickest in the final day’s 29.6-kilometre time trial, with race leader Robert Gesink of Rabobank dropping down the rankings as he came home in 40th place behind stage winner, Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia.
While Armstrong rode well to finish 5 seconds ahead of Schleck, it wasn’t quite enough to secure the overall win, and although the Texan may not be quite the rider he once was – his imperious performance in time trials underpinned his Tour de France wins as much as his showing in the mountains – his podium place demonstrate that he is moving into peak form ahead of the Grand Départ in Rotterdam in less than a fortnight.
Schleck dedicated his victory to his compatriot, Team Katusha’s Kim Kirchen, who remains in an induced coma in hospital after collapsing on Friday evening following that day's stage.
Commenting on his victory, the Saxo-Bank rider, who finished fifth in last year’s Tour de France – brother and team-mate Andy was second overall – was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “I was a little bit surprised myself that it went so well but the good thing about being on the same team as Fabian Cancellara is that you get to know a trick or two about time trialling and he said I could pull it off before the stage."
He continued: "Winning here so close to the Tour de France means a lot to me but my thoughts go to Kim Kirchen and his family who are having a hard time right now."