Tour de Suisse heads for home

Prologue winner Lance Armstrong will wear the yellow jersey on Wednesday Keystone

The second day of the Tour de Suisse sees Switzerland's biggest professional cycling race finally move onto home territory. American superstar Lance Armstrong will take the leader's yellow jersey to Basel after winning Tuesday's prologue stage in Germany.

This content was published on June 20, 2001 - 00:16

"It's good to be back on the Tour de Suisse," said a grinning Armstrong after completing the opening day's 7.9 kilometre time trial in a blistering 9'44"22. "To win a time trial you can't be weak. Mentally I'm focused and physically I'm there."

The US Postal Team rider, who overcame testicular cancer before winning two successive Tour de France, takes a five-second lead over France's Laurent Jalabert into the second day of racing. But Armstrong did not seem too bothered about defending his advantage during Wednesday's 179 kilometre stretch from Rust to Basel.

"I don't know," he grinned. "We will have to talk about that. Ten days is a long race and you don't need to start defending from day one."

Zberg leads Swiss challenge

The best-placed Swiss rider going into Wednesday's second stage is Beat Zberg, who finished Tuesday's prologue with the fifth quickest time.

"I think that was the best prologue of my career," said a delighted Zberg afterwards. "I'm happy both with my time and my position. Now I'm just going to take each day at a time and not go crazy."

While Daniel Schnider could also congratulate himself after a well-ridden 12th place finish in the prologue, Swiss stars Alex Zülle and Oscar Camenzind will be looking to improve on their performances as the riders weave their way into Switzerland.

Zülle blamed overexuberance for his 17th place finish on Tuesday. "I started too quickly and paid for it at the end," explained the cyclist from eastern Switzerland, who now has a 13 second deficit to overcome.

Camenzind promises improvements

Defending Tour de Suisse champion Camenzind was not too put out after crossing the line almost 25 seconds behind Armstrong, in 38th place, the canton Schwyz rider claiming that he had reckoned on a maximum deficit of 30 seconds.

"Nothing has been lost yet," Camenzind insisted on Tuesday, "but clearly every deficit needs making up at some point. My team and I are going to be riding better in the coming days."

Time and distance is certainly on Camenzind's side. After their arrival in Basel on Wednesday, the cyclists will still have another eight days and 1,238 kilometres to get through.

by Mark Ledsom, Rust

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