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Zülle wins final stage of Frigo's tour

Zülle celebrated his second successive stage win

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Alex Zülle has claimed his second win in as many days, to finish behind Italian Dario Frigo in this year's Tour de Romandie.

The 33-year-old Zülle dominated the field in the final stage of the tour through French-speaking Switzerland - a challenging hill-riddled time trial through Lausanne.

He finished the 18.3-kilometer course in a time of 24:59, 24 seconds ahead Frigo.

Combined with his gutsy win in Saturday's snow-driven mountain stage to Leysin, Zülle managed to leap from outside the top-ten into second place overall.

A solid performance by Australian Cadel Evans, on the roller coaster Lausanne course, saw him edge into third place overall, 51 seconds behind Frigo.

Nightmare weather

Frigo's domination of this year's Tour de Romandie - his second title in two years - came despite often atrocious conditions.

Out of the tour's five stages, only the last was run on dry roads. Riders were forced to contend with freezing and wet conditions, along with a snowstorm on the penultimate stage - a shortened 86-kilometre climb to the resort town of Leysin.

Frigo took command of the 706-kilometre tour from the outset, after winning the second stage from Glovelier to Charmey.

He finished Sunday's time trial in second place, just 24 seconds behind Zülle, a former world time trial champion.

Frigo's performance comes seven weeks after the lifting of a doping-related ban. He was one of the main riders involved in last year's Giro d'Italia drug scandal.

Hopes of a home-team victory were dashed after Zülle crashed during the opening stage. His dominant rides in the final two stages will no doubt lead to speculation about what could have been.

Speaking after the race, Zülle said he had never experienced such foul weather in 12 years as a professional cyclist.

"All the clothing is useless. After half an hour, you are sopping wet. It was relatively endurable with heat cream, but I've never experienced such weather in a race during May."

swissinfo with agencies


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