By Shane Stokes in Ambri
Race leader Koldo Gil (Saunier Duval) said on Saturday evening that he would fight hard to win the Tour de Suisse, but conceded that a tough battle with Jan Ullrich is on the cards. "Obviously he is the big favourite here," he admitted. "I think he is going well. It will be very difficult to take him on over 30 kilometres against the clock, but I will try."
Gil was unable to take any more time in today's eighth stage, and will have to make do with his 30 and 50 second buffers over Jaksche and Ullrich in tomorrow's time trial. But a strong performance by Gil could still see him hold yellow, especially after he won the time trial in the recent Euskal Bizikleta.
The race leader also told the media that he had been concerned at the risky run-in to the line in Ascona yesterday. "I wasn't happy with the finish…there were five turns in the final kilometre and with the rain, that made things extremely dangerous," he stated. "The risk of getting hurt is high. So many riders are here to prepare for the Tour de France and they don't want to get hurt."
Gil has already said he will bypass the Tour in order to prepare for the Vuelta. However his big Tour de Suisse rival Jan Ullrich is very much targeting the French race; what does he think of his chances?
"The end of the Tour de France is five weeks from now," he said. "I think that by then Ullrich will be in his top form, so it might be perfect timing on his part."