By Shane Stokes in Giubiasco
Fränk Schleck has already amassed a very decent palmarès, including wins in the Amstel Gold and at Alpe d'Huez, but this Tour de Suisse marks another big step in his career.
"It is my first time to lead a stage race, so I am very happy with that," he said prior to Wednesday's stage. "Okay, I did it as an amateur but that is not the same thing as when you are pro. This morning I got up and started putting my numbers on, but realised that I was doing it with a normal CSC jersey. So I thought, ‘damn, you have to remember to take the yellow jersey today!' That was a nice feeling."
He and the team had a relatively straightforward day, due to the fact that the sprinters teams decided to get involved and pull back the two-man break of Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval) from Switzerland and Dutch rider Laurens Ten Dam (Unibet.com). They went some 28 kilometres after the start, built up a maximum lead of over nine minutes before Ten Dam went on ahead alone on the run up towards the start of the first category Lukmanierpass. He was finally caught with some 13 kilometres remaining.
CSC directeur sportif Kim Andersen was pleased at the finish. "It was an easy day. We were calculating a little bit on the sprinters' teams getting involved. It was the last day for them. We know we have to work hard tomorrow.
"The start was a little bit hectic with a lot of attacks taking place. [Kim] Kirchen and [Michael] Rogers were away, but it settled down after a while."
Schleck said yesterday evening that he is going to fight hard to retaining yellow. "Tomorrow [stage 6] will be a very hard day. It is important to defend the jersey, it is a very important one. I think that the Tour de Suisse one of the best races in the world. It is very, very well organised, with a good course, super hotels, and very, very warm people. I hope to keep the jersey. We will see how things go tomorrow."