Dufaux Takes Stage Three of Tour of Romandie

News & Results

05/2/2003| 0 comments
by Ian Melvin
Dufaux. Photo copyright IMG (SUISSE) SA.
Dufaux. Photo copyright IMG (SUISSE) SA.

Dufaux Takes Stage Three of Tour of Romandie

Hamilton looks set for top overall finish

Stage 3: Moundon - Leoche les Baines; 171.3 km

After a steady start to the days stage, the final 30 km saw the first real sort out of the race's hopefuls.  Five riders from Team CSC controlled the activity as the bunch made its way towards the final grueling 900m climb to Leoche les Baines; Tyler Hamilton looking comfortable. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


Once on the climb with 13km to go, Fabian Jeker and David Bernabeu (Milaneza-MSS) launched an attack.  With a further two kilometers covered the escapees were reeled back in but the Milaneza-MSS team fired another rider of the front.  Francisco Perez powered up the climb, forcing his 1m 84 frame up the steep slope.  By this stage the hopes of many riders for overall victory was slipping away as the pace of the chasing pack exploded.  Among them were last year?s winner Dario Frigo, French hope David Moncoutie and the Yellow jersey Simone Bertoletti.


A chasing group of 6 riders formed with 5 km to go including Laurent Dufaux and Hamilton.  Perez's lead was slowly diminishing as he entered the final two kilometers over the summit of the mountain.  Descending towards the finish through car lined streets, victory looked assured for the Spaniard until entering the final kilometer he followed the lead motorcycle and turned right instead of left towards the line despite the best efforts of a flag waving policeman in the middle of the road.

A stunned chase pack headed towards the line sprinting for victory whilst Perez could only wonder 'what if...'.  Dufaux maintained the good form shown by the home riders so far, comfortably winning the sprint from Fabian Jeker, Alexandre Moos (Phonak Hearing Systems) and Tyler Hamilton.

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