Albasini wins at Serfaus

Michael Albasini (Team Columbia-Highroad) at the start of stage five.

Michael Albasini (Team Columbia-Highroad) at the start of stage five. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Switzerland's Michael Albasini (Team Columbia-Highroad) won stage five of the Tour de Suisse, outsprinting compatriot Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank) and Italy's Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) on a difficult uphill finish to Serfaus, Austria. Albasini accelerated away from a group of race favorites inside the last kilometre of the mountainous 202-kilometre stage to earn his team its third victory in five stages at the Tour de Suisse.

"I had to push myself hard to win, but it was worth it to win the hardest stage of the race," Albasini said. "I didn't know the climbs at all, either, because it's a long way from my home in Switzerland. Fortunately I was able to get on [rival] Fabian Cancellara's wheel when he went for another rider who'd already attacked in the last kilometre. Then immediately after that I got past Fabian and just gave it 100 percent.

"It wasn't really a sprint because it came at the end of a long day in the mountains, but somehow I managed to keep going," continued Albasini. "I've been targeting this race since the beginning of May, because this is my home race and so obviously it's a big goal for me. Winning here in Switzerland is always special for a Swiss rider."

Looking further ahead, Albasini said he did not rule himself out for the overall classification, although not the top three. "I wanted to go for a podium place, but in the first couple of stages I suffered more than I expected. I didn't have good legs, and it was very difficult for me to say with the favorites. Still, if I finish with a top 10 place overall as well as this stage win, I'll be more than satisfied."

Team Columbia-Highroad's Bernard Eisel won stage two of the Tour de Suisse and Mark Cavendish followed up with a win on stage three. Albasini's victory is the 38th for the team this season, the most of any ProTour squad.

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