American Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack) won the 2011 Tour de Suisse on Sunday, beating Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) by just four seconds overall and relieving him of the leader’s jersey in a last-minute upset.
Cunego will have been left bitterly disappointed to have lost the jersey to Leipheimer in the final time trial, having successfully taken and then defended the race lead through the race’s high mountains.
The Italian started the day with a one minute and 59 second lead over Leipheimer, in fourth spot, in the general classification. The American used his superior ability against the clock to wipe out the deficit and take another major win – at the age of 37.
Cunego paid the price for his hard work during the previous few days, and could only manage 39th place on the stage, some two minutes and 16 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek).
Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) slipped from second to third overall to round out the final podium.
Another stage win for Cancellara
World time trial champion Cancellara finished the race as he started – with a stage win. Having claimed victory in stage one’s opening time trial, he cruised around the final 32.1km route in 41-01 to win. Cancellara’s victories will have been some consolation to the Leopard-Trek squad, as its Tour de France hopes Andy and Frank Schleck delivered very mixed performances.
Andreas Kloden (Radioshack) finished the stage with the second fastest time, nine seconds adrift of the Swiss time trial specialist with team-mates Leipheimer in third at 13 seconds and Nelson Oliveira in fourth at 25 seconds.
Britain’s Chris Froome (Sky) finished ninth on the stage, one minute and two seconds behind Cancellara and finished in 47th spot overall.
Double stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the points classification overall, with Andy Schleck coming away with the mountains jersey.
Tour de Suisse 2011, stage nine: Schaffhausen, 32.1km individual time trial
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard-Trek in 41-01
2. Andreas Kloden (Ger) Radioshack at 9 secs
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack at 13 secs
4. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Radioshack at 25 secs
5. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 38 secs
6. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 41 secs
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 44 secs
8. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 48 secs
9. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1-02
10. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-04
16. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 1-29
39. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 2-16
46. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-32
60. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 3-06
62. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 3-12
135. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 6-48
Final overall classification
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Radioshack in 31-45-02
2. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 4 secs
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 1-02
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 1-10
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 2-05
6. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at 2-24
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-35
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 3-11
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 3-17
10. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek at 4-12
19. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 18-48
47. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 42-30
78. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 1-02-47
106. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1-19-11
127. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 1-35-11
Brit Chris Froome rode to ninth place on the stage
Ian Stannard came a creditable 16th place
Stage winner Fabian Cancellara
Grit: Levi Leipheimer comes third on stage to win overall
Overall winner Levi Leipheimer
Tour de Suisse 2011: Related links
Stage eight: Sagan wins again as Swift comes third
Stage seven: De Gendt wins as Schleck tests form
Stage six: Kruijswijk climbs to win stage six
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five: Bozic sprints to win
Stage four: Hushovd beats Sagan to stage four win
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three: Sagan wins as Cunego takes lead
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two: Soler leads Tour de Suisse, Froome ninth overall
Cavendish and Swift line up for Tour de Suisse