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McEwen does it again

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McEwen, perhaps demostrating to the Silence Lotto bosses

McEwen, perhaps demostrating to the Silence Lotto bosses (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The breakaway gained ten minutes

The breakaway gained ten minutes (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Oscar Freire (Rabobank) at the start.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) at the start. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Team Astana signs in.

Team Astana signs in. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Swiss Gregory Rast (Astana) at the start.

Swiss Gregory Rast (Astana) at the start. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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German Andreas Klöden (Astana) gives a wave.

German Andreas Klöden (Astana) gives a wave. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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René Weissinger (Team Volksbank) explain's the previous stage.

René Weissinger (Team Volksbank) explain's the previous stage. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Elias Schmäh (Team Volksbank)

Elias Schmäh (Team Volksbank) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Andreas Dietziker (Team Volksbank)

Andreas Dietziker (Team Volksbank) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) all smiles.

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) all smiles. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) waves to the crowd at the start.

Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) waves to the crowd at the start. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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German sprinter Erik Zabel (Team Milram)

German sprinter Erik Zabel (Team Milram) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Swiss Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale) on the start podium.

Swiss Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale) on the start podium. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Swiss Michael Albasini (Liquigas) waves.

Swiss Michael Albasini (Liquigas) waves. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale) has a look at the newspaper.

Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale) has a look at the newspaper. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Spain's Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) signs in.

Spain's Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom) signs in. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Belgium's Gert Steegmans (Quick Step)

Belgium's Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Belgian Champion Stijn Devolder (Quick Step)

Belgian Champion Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Igor Anton (Euskaltel Euskadi) covered up his leader's jersey with the team vest on the rainy morning.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel Euskadi) covered up his leader's jersey with the team vest on the rainy morning. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The breakaway gained ten minutes but was still reeled in by the sprinters.

The breakaway gained ten minutes but was still reeled in by the sprinters. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Euskaltel Euskadi leads the peloton for overall leader Igor Anton.

Euskaltel Euskadi leads the peloton for overall leader Igor Anton. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) made the day's break

Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) made the day's break (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The three-man escape which lasted 160km: Matej Jurco (Milram), Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) and Jonathan Garcia (BMC)

The three-man escape which lasted 160km: Matej Jurco (Milram), Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) and Jonathan Garcia (BMC) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The teams come to the front to chase down the escapees.

The teams come to the front to chase down the escapees. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The lunge for the line goes to McEwen.

The lunge for the line goes to McEwen. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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McEwen went early but still held on to win.

McEwen went early but still held on to win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The stage four sprint saw McEwen back out on top.

The stage four sprint saw McEwen back out on top. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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McEwen holds off Ciolek and Freire to take his second sprint win.

McEwen holds off Ciolek and Freire to take his second sprint win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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McEwen won't get his lead-out men at the Tour, but has shown he can win if they're around.

McEwen won't get his lead-out men at the Tour, but has shown he can win if they're around. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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McEwen, perhaps demonstrating to the Silence Lotto bosses that having men around for lead-outs can pay off.

McEwen, perhaps demonstrating to the Silence Lotto bosses that having men around for lead-outs can pay off. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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McEwen pumps his fist with joy after winning his second stage.

McEwen pumps his fist with joy after winning his second stage. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Hoste was as happy with McEwen's win as if he'd won the race himself.

Hoste was as happy with McEwen's win as if he'd won the race himself. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Leif Hoste celebrates after delivering McEwen to the sprint win.

Leif Hoste celebrates after delivering McEwen to the sprint win. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Robbie McEwen (Silence Lotto) counts his wins from the stage four podium.

Robbie McEwen (Silence Lotto) counts his wins from the stage four podium. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Marcus Burghardt (High Road) looking relaxed.

Marcus Burghardt (High Road) looking relaxed. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Gerald Ciolek (High Road) gunning for the sprints.

Gerald Ciolek (High Road) gunning for the sprints. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thomas Dekker (Rabobank)

Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) keeps close to the wheels.

Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) keeps close to the wheels. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton follows.

The peloton follows. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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This can only be Switzerland

This can only be Switzerland (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Germany's Andreas Klöden (Astana) looks determined.

Germany's Andreas Klöden (Astana) looks determined. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Andreas Klöden (Astana)

Andreas Klöden (Astana) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Australia's Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) nips the win.

Australia's Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) nips the win. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) keeps in yellow.

Igor Antón (Euskaltel-Euskadi) keeps in yellow. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Silence-Lotto's Robbie McEwen did it again, jumping into the wind early and taking it all the way to the finish line, to win his second straight mass sprint in the Tour de Suisse. Second and third places went to Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Gerald Ciolek (High Road).

"In the finale I had Leif Hoste, Jurgen Roelandts and Greg Van Avermaet beside me, and they did it perfectly," McEwen said. "I could launch my sprint in the last turn. Now we will go drink a glass of champagne."

Referring to press reports from yesterday's awards ceremony, which claimed the the Australian had cursed at the race and the country, McEwen explained, "A Swiss newspaper wrote that I had offended the land. That is not true. I love Switzerland!"

The race was once again dominated by a long escape. Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom,) Matej Jurco (Milram) and Jonathan Garcia (BMC) got away only a few kilometers into the stage and built up a lead of up to nearly ten minutes. However, the sprinters' teams were determined not to let them stay away to the end, and caught them with only six kilometres left to the finish line.

How it unfolded

There were 154 riders at the line in Gossau, with Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rabobank), Andey Mizurov (Astana) and Eros Capecchi (Saunier Duval) the non-starters for the day.

Only a few kilometers into the race the escape group of the day formed. Matej Jurco (Milram), Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) and Jonathan Garcia (BMC) got away. The peloton was content to let them go, and within 20 kilometres they had built up a lead of over eight minutes.

After only 40 km, the lead was over 10 minutes and the peloton slowly started reacting. The lead dropped to eight to nine minutes for a long time, a gap with which the peloton was content.

Light rain began to fall on the peloton for the second half of the stage, which featured two category three climbs. Small as they were, they were enough to cut into the advantage of the leading trio. By the time the race descended the second climb, their lead had shrunk to just over two minutes.

The three men took that two minute lead into the last 20 km, but their time was running out. The field bided its time, only closing down the last of the gap with six kilometres to go. The three turned around, saw the onrushing field, and patted each other on the back after a 160 km escape.

High Road looked like it was riding a team time trial, with six riders leading the peloton and pushing the pace as they crossed the two kilometre banner. Quick Step, Lotto and Milram then moved up to do lead work, but it was Lotto and High Road who would lead the field into the final corner.

With his team-mates dropping him off at the perfect moment, McEwen jumped early into the wind. The feisty Australian was able to hold off the hard-charging Freire and Ciolek to take his second win of the Tour, and his third of the year.

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