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Camenzind: the short route to success

Oscar Camenzind (centre) on his way to victory in the Tour de Suisse


Oscar Camenzind, who's 29, was born into a farming family in canton Schwyz. The former postman was a successful amateur rider, taking 11th place in the 1995 World Amateur Championship, but only turned professional four years ago.

Camenzind, nicknamed Osi, managed to qualify that first year for cycling's most prestigious race, the Tour de France, and finished a respectable 36th. He cut his teeth as a "domestique" to the former Swiss world champion, Mauro Gianetti.

A fast learner, he ended the 1997 Tour de France in 12th place. A year later, he rode shotgun for Pavel Tonkov in his first Giro d'Italia, finishing fourth -his highest ranking in any tour until today.

Camenzind crowned the year by taking the World Champion's crown at Valkenburg in the Netherlands.

Joining his current team Lampre, in 1999, he notched up a first stage win in that year's Tour de Suisse, and ultimately took fifth place.

His victory in this year's tour was far from a foregone conclusion. The powerful German rider Jan Ullrich grabbed the overall lead in the fifth stage, and held onto it until the seventh. But Camenzind pulled ahead in the eighth, cementing his advantage the following day.

swissinfo with agencies