Team BMC Racing's Marcus Burghardt Strikes Again, Wins Stage 7 of 2010 Tour de Suisse
Team BMC Racing's Marcus Burghardt grabs one more stage win; Gesink takes overall race lead.
Team BMC Racing's Marcus Burghardt of Germany claimed his second stage win in the 2010 Tour of Switzerland after riding away from a breakaway group 55 kilometers from the finish earlier today.
Burghardt, who was part of a group of 16 breakaway riders, dropped his companions with a well-timed attack and rode strongly to the finish of the seventh stage, a 204-kilometer hilly trek from Savognin to Wetzikon.
The 26-year-old Burghardt, who on Wednesday claimed the win in the fifth stage, decided to compete in the Switzerland event at the last minute after recovering from an elbow injury he suffered at the Tour of California this season.
"Those two wins after my fall in California show that the life of a rider is made of up and downs," Burghardt said.
Burghardt, who brandished a German flag before crossing the finish line, pushed former world champion Oscar Freire of Spain into second.
Team Rabobank's Oscar Freire won a three-man sprint to claim the runner-up spot, one minute and one second back.
The one-day classic specialist Burghardt made his decisive move in the third category climb of Hulftegg and quickly built a one-minute lead he was able to maintain despite the pain in his legs.
"I realized that nobody was able to follow when I attacked and I kept riding at the same pace," Burghardt said. "I really suffered in the final local loop but I hung on thanks to the support of the spectators who were shouting my name."
The main pack, including race leader Robert Gesink of the Netherlands and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, was five minutes behind.
In the overall standings, Gesink leads Rigoberto Uran of Colombia by 29 seconds. Steve Morabito of Switzerland is third, 36 seconds back, while Armstrong remained seventh, 55 seconds back.
"Legs were fine, it was just a cold and stressful day," Armstrong said. "I felt I had a good recovery from yesterday. I felt OK."
Armstrong, who is preparing for next month's Tour de France, climbed to seventh overall after Thursday's tough mountain stage. On a cold and wet day, with temperatures as low as 10 degrees Celsius, Armstrong didn't take any risks and spent the whole day in the pack.
The race started with several unsuccessful attacks on the front before the group of riders including Burghardt broke away after 60 kilometers.
Gesink's Rabobank team then controlled the race, making sure the pack were not able to build a bigger lead.
"The first hour of racing was stressful because it took a long time for the breakaway riders to go," Gesink said. "It was easier after that, even if it was very cold. A lot of riders complained about it."
Gesink said he will now try to maintain his lead until Sunday's final stage, a 27-kilometer time trial where Armstrong will face his final big test before the Tour starts on July 3.