Fabian Cancellara (CSC) has done it again. Just like when he won Milan-San Remo in March and the stage of the Tour de France to Compiegne last year, the reigning world time trial champion won Friday?s seventh stage at the Tour of Switzerland with an audacious but spectacular solo attack.
The stage seemed set to end in a sprint but Cancellara changed all that when he jumped after Leif Hoste (Silence) with ten kilometres to go.
He was joined by Markus Fothen and quickly got across to the Belgian but that was only the first part of his impressive performance. Realising that the presence of overall contender Fothen in the move would drastically effect his chances of staying away, Cancellara eased off a little and waited for race leader Kim Kirchen to come across before making a second and even stronger attack.
This time he got way alone and blasted towards the finish at over 60km/h. With his high-profile rims spinning fast and his fore-arms on the top of his bars in an aero position, he powered towards the finish in Lyss, not far from his home town of Berne.
The bunch never really sat up but could not close the ten-second gap as the last five kilometres passed by in seemingly slow motion.
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) and Liquigas tried to lead the chase but Cancellara?s team mate Bobby Julich was near the front and let one Liquigas rider go clear. The gap and a few seconds of hesitation where enough to make sure Cancellara made it to the finish.
Just like in Milan-San Remo, Cancellara looked back to check how close the bunch were behind him, he then zipped up his jersey and celebrated another impressive win.
Erik Zabel (Milram) won the bunch spring just two seconds ahead of Robbie McEwen (Silence) but the experienced German picked the wrong day to finally pull out a good sprint.
Kim Kirchen (High Road) finished in the bunch and kept the leader?s yellow jersey but everybody?s admiration was for Cancellara. If he can attack like that in the Tour de France, he could win an early stage and take the yellow jersey even before the stage four Cholet time trial.
The Tour of Switzerland ends in Cancellara?s home town of Berne on Sunday. Saturday?s stage is a tough 25km mountain time trial up the Klauenpass to an altitude of 1948 metres and will decide the overall winner of the race.