After Australian Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux) won yesterday's third stage of the Tour of Switzerland into St. Anton, Austria just two seconds separate him from German race leader Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile). Time bonuses ate into Ullrich's pre-race margin of 15 seconds, as he struggled for position in the finish dash. Meanwhile, up front, McGee overtook Patrick Sinkewitz (Quick Step) and Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) in the finale, with Mirko Celestino (Domina Vacanze) following him in for second place.
McGee said the win was compensation for being beaten by Ullrich the previous day. "I'm very happy to have won the stage in a sprint," he said. "I came this race to win the time trial and so I was a little bit disappointed to finish second behind Jan Ullrich yesterday but winning today makes up for it. I felt pretty good on the climb and then played my chances in the sprint."
But McGee was unfazed about not taking the leader jersey. "The fact that I'm still two seconds behind Ullrich is a little present for my teammates. Now they don't have to defend the jersey. T-Mobile can keep doing that," he said.
Stage wins are nice, and this is the second victory for McGee's team in three days after Bernard Eisel won the opening stage, but McGee's sights are on the Tour de France, where he will be overall leader of the Francaise des Jeux team for the first time.
Jan Ullrich is similarly thinking about July. "I did what I could to keep the race lead and it worked," he said. "I'm happy to have to have the jersey for a second day but defending it all the way to the end of the race is not a priority. As I said after winning yesterday, my priority is the Tour de France."