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Spanish favourites beaten in Tour de Romandie race

Evans on his way to victory in the time trial Keystone

Australia's Cadel Evans has won this year's Tour de Romandie – one of Switzerland's most important cycling races – ahead of two Spanish riders.

This content was published on April 30, 2006 - 19:12

The best placed Swiss was Alexandre Moos who finished eighth - the worst result for the host country for 15 years.

Evans finished first in Sunday's final 20.4km time trial through the streets of Lausanne with Belgium's Leif Hoste, and American Bobby Julich coming in second and third respectively.

Evans, a former mountain biker, is only the second Australian to win the Tour after Phil Anderson's victory in 1989.

He became a professional road race rider in 2001, won the Tour of Austria in 2004 and finished an impressive eighth in last year's Tour of France.

"This is a nice win that I have to share with all my team mates but the Tour of France is my big objective of the year," he said.

New generation

Spain's Alejandro Valverde, one of the tour favourites, lost more than a minute and came 14th in the time trial.

In the overall standings, Valverde finished third, behind his compatriot Alberto Contador and Evans. Sunday's victory propelled the Australian past the Spaniards on the final day of the Tour.

But Valverde, who recently won the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day races, retains the lead in the season-long ProTour competition.

He is considered one of the leaders of a new generation of young riders emerging from the shadow of Lance Armstrong.

Unclear future

Alexandre Moos of the Swiss Phonak team was the only local rider in the top 20, with Steve Zampieri finishing 22nd and Beat Zberg coming 41st.

Moos' best performance during the tour was his second place in Saturday's mountain stage.

The six-day Tour de Romandie is seen as a warm-up for the Tour of Italy, one of the classics of the season. The Giro is due to start next Saturday.

However, the future of the Swiss race is unclear. The sports management group IMG decided to pull out after this year's competition, saying the event is not financially attractive enough.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Final standings Tour de Romandie 2006:

1. Evans (Australia)
2. Contador (Spain)
3. Valverde (Spain)
8. Moos (Switzerland)

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In brief

The Tour de Romandie is the most important cycling race in Switzerland after the Tour de Suisse.

22 teams participated in the six-days of racing over a total distance of 656.3km across southwestern Switzerland.

Among the winners of the Tour which took place for the 60th time this year, are Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Felice Gimondi as well as Switzerland's Ferdi Kübler (1948,1951), Hugo Koblet (1953), Tony Rominger (1991, 1994), Pascal Richard (1993,1995) and Laurent Dufaux (1998).

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