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Armstrong seals Tour victory

Armstrong can now add the Tour de Suisse to his impressive list of victories Keystone

America's Lance Armstrong has completed his first ever Tour de Suisse victory, the double Tour de France winner finishing Thursday's final stage with more than a minute's lead over Gilberto Simoni in the overall standings.

Armstrong, who laid the foundations for his victory with a stunning performance in Tuesday’s mountain time trial, was happy to sit back with the pack during Thursday’s 176 kilometre cicuit around Lausanne.

Swiss rider Oscar Camenzind gave the homecrowd something to cheer about by taking the final stage victory. Camenzind, who won last year’s Tour, was the only Swiss rider to take a stage victory during this year’s race.

Frenchman Christophe Magnien finished the day second while Luxembourg’s Christian Poos provided the Swiss post team with a welcome third place.

Beat Zberg ended up as the highest-placed Swiss in the overall standings, the 30-year-old Rabobank rider finishing fourth overall, two minutes and 47 seconds behind Armstrong.

Although Armstrong is using the Swiss race primarily as a warm-up for next month’s Tour de France, the American star told swissinfo he was proud of what he had achieved in Switzerland.

“Everybody wants to talk about what this race means for my preparations, or as a statement before the Tour de France,” Armstrong said. “But this isn’t some small race run in February. It’s the Tour of Switzerland, arguably the biggest stage race outside of the big three, and it’s an honour to win here.”

Despite the rigours of a ten-day race, Armstrong added that he had also been able to enjoy a good deal of Swiss comfort along the way.

“We loved our time here,” he said. “The race was well run. I’ve spent ten years complaining about hotels on bike races, but these were the finest hotels I’ve ever stayed in on any ten-day stage event. And when I get a good hotel and a good meal I’m a pretty happy guy.”

The organisers of the Tour de Suisse will also be pretty happy after not only attracting arguably the biggest name in cycling to their event, but also seeing him mount the final podium as this year’s worthy champion.

by Mark Ledsom, Lausanne

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR