Italian Paolo Savoldelli flew over the 3.5 kilometre Tour de Romandie parcours on Tuesday to claim victory. The win on the streets of Freiburg was the fourth time that he had won the Swiss race's opener. He won by five seconds over Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).
The two-time Giro d'Italia winner, known as Il Falco Bergamasco, is in Switzerland merely to reach his top form for the upcoming Giro. "I didn't come here to win, but to test and do the best I could," Savoldelli said to AFP after the win. The 2007 Giro starts May 12 on the Island of Sardegna. "If the race allows it, we will hold on to it, because the Astana team is capable of controlling the race."
He reckoned the last kilometre required the most energy. "You needed very good legs to win today and to negotiate the last kilometre well."
American Chris Horner (Predictor-Lotto) finished third, at seven seconds. "My legs weren't too bad already in Liège-Bastogne-Liège," noted Horner, who won a stage in the 2006 edition. "Here it's getting better and better."
His teammate and last year's Romandie winner, Cadel Evans, finished outside of the top ten. "Cadel's doing well too and we're both aiming for the final podium."
"My preparation revolves around the Tour de France," said the Australian to L'Impartial newspaper. "I want to be in my best form in July. The Tour de Romandie is the first big event of the season."
Evans and his Italian wife live in Switzerland, and he vowed not to take the race lightly. "I'll do my best to defend my title," he added.
The race will get down to business today in stage one, which runs 157.8 km from Granges-Paccot to La Chaux-de-Fonds. The riders will face two category one and two category two climbs.