Davitamon-Lotto's Chris Horner has achieved his second victory on Swiss soil and scored the second European win for his squad yesterday in stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, after Australian teammate Robbie McEwen got to put his fists into the air already on Wednesday. The mountainous stage proved to be just right for the American climber, who successfully attacked the leading group in the race finale to Porrentruy and then soloed to the finish line, followed by Jörg Jaksche (Liberty) and Alexandre Moos (Phonak).
And, the American climber took two honours on the podium after the race - not only the flowers, but also the yellow jersey of the overall lead, as he gained seven seconds over Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne).
"I was a little bad today," Horner recalled. "I had some moments where I wasn't so sure of the legs, but we hit the climb and I was to able to follow the pace on the climb; the Illes Balears rider Joaquin Rodriguez was very strong on the climb but very steady. Afterwards on the descent, Savoldelli was... whooaaah - now I understand where [he gets his nickname] - it was the first time I'd seen it, and I thought for sure he was going to crash a couple of times he went into some of the corners so fast.
"But he managed to stay up and split the group in three or four different places; at one time, I had to chase the whole time down the descent to get back on. Luckily, I had Cadel Evans in the front; he didn't take a pull and he slowed it down till I got there, and then we started playing some tactics after that.
"Hopefully the yellow jersey gives a little extra incentive, but I definitely... I'm certainly there with the top, I don't doubt that at all; tomorrow's going to be a mountain-top finish instead of a descent and there's so much tactics involved there. I'm certainly up there with the top climbers in the race, but we have to see tomorrow exactly if I can climb with the very best, or just some of the best."
The only point-to-point stage of this year's Tour de Romandie, tomorrow's stage begins in Biel in the far west. It's a relatively flat ride southeast to Leysin until 15 kilometres from the finish - but that's where things change, the day ending atop the 1,318 metre-high Category 1 ascent of Le Sépey. Here, we're sure to see fireworks galore, and by the day's end, the first significant reordering on general classification and a clear idea of just who will be standing on that final podium in Lausanne.
Also see: Full results, report & photos.