Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gonzalez Wins In Switzerland!

Photo courtesy AFP

Today, Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) rallied to win the final stage of the Tour of Switzerland, clinching top spot in the general classification and showing everyone that once again he is a stage racer of the highest caliber.

What nobody seems to notice, on the other hand, is the fact that Euskatel-Euskadi, after a very quiet spring, has knocked down the two biggest pre-Tour stage races: the Dauphine in France and the Tour of Switzerland. Inigo Landaluze rode valiantly to clinch the French stage race, and now Gonzalez has beaten the Swiss field. That's not bad in the span of three weeks.

Missing from all of this was a strong showing from Iban Mayo, last year's winner of the Dauphine and a participant in this year's Swiss tour. He rode adequately in the mountains, but without the strength apparent in years past. He claims to be building up to the Tour, which starts at the beginning of July, but only time will tell if he can surpass his excellent sixth place finish in 2003.