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Disappointed Zülle says his tour chances are gone

Alex Zülle (right) climbs the Ordino pass during the Tuesday stage Keystone

Switzerland's Alex Zülle has admitted that he has no chance of winning the Tour of Spain after two poor stages in a row. He has not managed to keep up the pace, following what looked a promising start to the Vuelta.

The rider told correspondents he was not recovering properly after each stage. That was despite leading the event through its first eight days.

He clocked up a poor performance in Sunday’s time trial in Tarragona, and then failed to keep up with the peloton in Monday’s first mountain stage in the Pyrenees.

“My legs are not right, ” he said, “I thought it might just have been a bad day, but I have felt the same for a few days now”.

After Tuesday’s tough mountain stage in Andorra, Zülle found himself in 30th place, 19 minutes 2 seconds behind the Vuelta’s new leader, Spain’s Angel Casero.

“I’m not thinking of quitting”, he said. Zülle is in the last year of his contract with Spanish team Banesto, and pulled out partway through this year’s Tour de France.

“I want to try and recover and help the rest of the team for the remainder of the Tour”. The rider is having to swallow the fact that he is shifting into the role of domestique as the Vuelta unfolds.

The top-placed Swiss rider is Oscar Camenzind, ranked 11th, and a more comfortable 6 minutes 26 seconds behind Casero.

swissinfo with agencies

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