SERFAUS, Austria, June 17, 2011 (AFP) – Belgian Thomas De Gendt held off the pressure of Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck in the final climb of the day to claim victory in the Tour of Switzerland seventh stage Friday.
Italian Damiano Cunego retained the race leader’s yellow jersey after his rivals failed to put him to the sword in the 222.8 km ride from Vaduz in Liechtenstein to Serfaus in Austria, the final climbing stage of the race.
Leopard rider Schleck, a two-time runner-up in the Tour de France, finished 35 seconds adrift of Vacansoleil rider De Gendt with Cunego leading home a small group containing all his rivals 4:37 later.
In the overall standings the Italian ace still holds a lead of 1:23 and 1:36 on Dutch pair Bauke Mollema and Steven Kruijswijk of the Rabobank team.
Defending champion Frank Schleck remains fourth at 1:41 while American Levi Leipheimer, Cunego’s biggest threat on Sunday when a 32.1km time trial will decide the race, is fifth at 1:59.
Saturday’s stage, a 167.3 km ride from Tubach to Schaffhausen in Switzerland, is likely to finish in a bunch sprint.
- 1. Thomas De Gendt (BEL) Vacansoleil-Dcm, 5:38:42
- 2. Andy Schleck (LUX) Leopard-Trek, at 0:35
- 3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (ESP) Movistar, at 0:48
- 4. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:51
- 5. Alberto Losada Alguacil (ESP) Team Katusha, at 0:54
- 1. Damiano Cunego (Italy) Lampre-Isd, 27:09:49
- 2. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands) Rabobank Cycling Team, at 1:23
- 3. Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands) Rabobank Cycling Team, at 1:36
- 4. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg) Leopard-Trek, at 1:41
- 5. Levi Leipheimer (United States) Team RadioShack, at 1:59