Spain's Oscar Freire has won the first stage of the 72nd Tour de Suisse, followed closely by Martin Elmiger of Switzerland.This content was published on June 14, 2008 - 18:28
The 146-kilometre stage started and ended in Langnau, near Bern, on Saturday.
Freire won in three hours, 42 minutes, 35 seconds, ahead of second place Elmiger. Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen finished third in a tight pack.
Freire's victory gives him the overall lead in the nine-day race, four seconds ahead of Elmiger and fellow Swiss rider David Loosli who gained sprint points.
"It was a difficult stage, I knew it was going to be tough," Freire said later.
"I am pleased with this victory because it is always important to win, and especially as the Tour de Suisse is a very high level course. I will lose tomorrow for sure."
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