Russian wins fifth stage of Tour de Suisse

Cheered on by hundreds of supporters, Konyshev endures the climb up the Gotthard pass Keystone

Russia's Dimitri Konyshev sprinted across the finish line first to win the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse cycling race. He was largely unchallenged in the final stretch of the 220,6 kilometre stage, which took riders up the Gotthard pass.

This content was published on June 23, 2001 - 18:16

The Giro d'Italia winner, Italy's Gilberto Simoni, came second and his compatriot, Wladimir Belli, was third.

Belli's performance was just enough to hand him the overall lead snatching the yellow jersey from fellow Italian, Gianluca Bortolami.

Konyshev needed five hours, 59 minutes and eight seconds to cover the mountain stage, which is considered the toughest leg of the 10-stage event.

In Saturday's race, the cyclists headed out from Widnau for the town of San Gottardo, and endured a punishing ride up the Gotthard pass. Under the full glare of the sun, the riders climbed 1,687 metres before sprinting home.

At 15 kilometres from the finish, Konyshev enjoyed a six-and-a-half minute lead over the rest of the pack. But during the final one-kilometre-stretch, the Russian's lead dwindled to just under four minutes.

Two Swiss riders, Markus Zberg and Daniel Schnider, finished in the top ten but they failed to find a place on the podium.

Two-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finished seventh, keeping the American in contention for an overall win at just 25 seconds off the pace.

The next stage of the race is a circuit starting and ending in the town of Mendrisio.

swissinfo with agencies

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