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Dublin: 11°C Friday 26 February 2021

Alpen attack carries Albasini to victory

Home favourite Michael Albasini shattered the peloton en route to claiming his third World Tour stage of the season.

Image: POOL FRED MONS/Belga/Press Association Images

A VIRTUOSO DISPLAY from Swiss rider Michael Albasini decided the Tour de Suisse’s penultimate stage on Saturday.

Securing a berth within a four-man breakaway a mere 15 kilometers into the the 148km stage, the climbing specialist, currently of Australian outfit Orica-Greenedge, established a punishing pace to ensure he began the day’s final test – a meandering, 26km climb from the floor of the Schanfigg valley to the ski resort of Arosa – with an unassailable lead.

When the final member of the initial breakaway, Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), lost the 31-year-old’s wheel with 18km to go, Albasini took full advantage, driving ahead to claim his third World Tour stage of the season.

Further back, the race for the general classification took an intriguing turn when Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan) succeeded in conspiring with Mikel Nieve (Euskatel) and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) to erase a full 50 seconds from advantage of race leader Rui Costa (Movistar).

The Portuguese, who crossed the line in the company of Nicolas Roche (AG2R), will being tomorrow’s punishing final stage with a 14-second advantage over the Luxembourg national champion.

Roche, on the other hand, will need to make gains of nearly 40 seconds over his GC rivals if he’s to vault from his current ranking of 13th to a place on the periphery of the top 10.

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