Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli has started this year's Tour de Romandie in style, winning Tuesday's 6.9km prologue from St Urban to Pfaffnau.This content was published on May 8, 2001 - 21:06
Riding last and wearing the green jersey as last year's winner, the Italian completed the stage in a fraction over nine minutes, snatching first place from his compatriot Dario Frigo by a mere 0.83 seconds.
Australian Brad McGee, a track bronze medallist at the Sydney Olympics, took the lead early in the race with a time of 9 minutes 1.78 seconds. He looked set to hold on for the victory until the Italians led a late charge.
Swiss riders Laurent Dufaux and Oscar Camenzind finished 12th and 13th respectively, 19 seconds off the pace.
Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich took his time on the course to finish in 57th place. World number one Francesco Casagrande withdrew late on and was replaced by Fabio Baldato.
Many of the riders are using the race as a warm-up for the first big tour of the season, the Giro d'Italia, which starts next week.
The serious business begins on Wednesday with the first stage taking the riders 168 kilometres to Tramelan in canton Bern.
swissinfo with agencies
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