Double Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has reclaimed the golden jersey on the eighth day of the Tour de Suisse cycling race.
After a gruelling 25.1km time-trial climb from Sion to Crans Montana, Armstrong finished nearly a minute and a half ahead of his nearest rival, Italy's Gilberto Simoni.
Introduced by tour organisers partly as an incentive for Armstrong, the climb to Crans Montana marked the first appearance in six years of a mountain time trial on the Tour de Suisse.
With just two stages to go before the tour wraps up in Lausanne on day ten, Armstrong now has a commanding overall lead in the tournament and is the favourite to take the coveted Tour de Suisse title.
Speaking after the race, Armstrong expressed his satisfaction with his performance.
""I feel good, I was motivated," Armstrong told swissinfo, "and this was an important test."
Winner of the opening prologue race on the first day of the tour, the 29-year-old Texan proved he was once again on top form as he prepares for next month's Tour de France.
The best Swiss performances of the day came from Beat Zberg and Steve Zampieri, who finished ninth and tenth respectively. Zberg's performance brought him up to fourth place in the overall standings, just behind his Italian rival, Wladimir Belli.
The next section of the course, a 166.8km journey from Sion to the Olympic city of Lausanne, is not likely to affect the overall lead, but does offer riders the challenge of a category two climb over the Col des Mosses.
swissinfo with agencies
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