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Steve Morabito (Phonak)
By Shane Stokes in Leukerbad, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan Steve Morabito got his...
By Shane Stokes in Leukerbad, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan
Steve Morabito got his young pro career off to a perfect start today when the 23 year-old Phonak rider won the first mountain stage of the Tour de Suisse.
The former VC Mendrisio PL Valli amateur got his contract thanks in part to his eighth place in the under 23 world championships last autumn, but today he eclipsed that result with a stage win in the prestigious ProTour event. He went clear with five others after just under 50 kilometres of racing, and then 180-odd kilometres later, comfortably beat Jurgen van Goolen (Discovery Channel) to the line.
Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile team led the chase on the final climb but it was yesterday's stage winner Angel Vicioso who was first home from the front group, crossing the line 14 seconds behind Morabito and just two behind a fading Van Goolen. He consequently took over at the top of the general classification, with overnight leader Nick Nuyens having fallen off the pace 11 kilometres from the line and ending the day over 13 minutes down.
The driving by the T-Mobile riders led to expectations of a Jan Ullrich attack but he finished just behind Koldo Gil Perez (Saunier Duval) and Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) in sixth place. The German's climbing form has nevertheless clearly progressed since the Giro d'Italia and is now seventh overall, 16 seconds off the lead.
Click here for the full results, report and photos from stage 5.