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Winning start for Zülle

Zülle celebrates after winning Tuesday's prologue

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Alex Zülle has won the opening prologue of this year's Tour de Suisse, overcoming tight turns and sizzling temperatures to grab the race's first golden jersey.

The 33-year-old from St Gallen finished the 5.7km Lucerne course with the day's fastest time of seven minutes and 37 seconds, more than five seconds ahead of second-placed Italian, Giuseppe Di Grande.

"I'm happy to have rode well today but I don't know what tomorrow will bring or the next three or four days," Zülle told swissinfo in the finish area. "I have always said that the prologue is just a show, a discipline certainly, but it's what's coming up that counts and that will be difficult."

Switzerland's Laurent Dufaux and Daniel Schnider took third and tenth places respectively to complete a great day in the sunshine for the homegrown favourites.

The riders - who had to cope with temperatures of up to 34 degrees - are bound to be hoping for slightly cooler conditions on Wednesday, when they begin the first stage proper, a 172km stretch from Lucerne to the northern city of Schaffhausen.

by Mark Ledsom, Lucerne


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