Zabel wins Tour de Suisse second stage; Cancellara maintains lead

Updated: June 17, 2007, 2:17 PM ET
Associated Press

LUCERNE, Switzerland -- Erik Zabel won a sprint finish Sunday to capture the second stage of the Tour de Suisse, and Fabian Cancellara kept the leader's yellow jersey by finishing third.

Zabel covered the 97.5 miles from Olten to Lucerne in 4 hours, 4 minutes, 57 seconds. Daniele Bennati was runner-up for the second straight day and is seven seconds behind Cancellara in the overall standings.

"The stage was quite difficult," Zabel said. "And it could have ended differently."

In the final mile, Greg Rast skidded out of control on a left-hand turn and brought down several riders with him, though the front 10 racers escaped.

Stuart O'Grady was fourth, followed by Murilo Fischer and Robbie McEwen, all with the same time as Zabel.

This was Zabel's first ProTour victory since he took a pair of stages at the Spanish Vuelta last year. It also marked the German's first ProTour win since admitting last May he took performance-enhancing drugs during the 1996 Tour de France.

Zabel is the only active rider among a group of former Telekom riders who admitted taking the blood booster EPO in the 1990s. Zabel's current team, Milram, decided to keep him until the end of the year before ruling on whether to honor the last year on his contract.

Zabel said he never again took performance-enhancing drugs after using EPO for the first week of the 1996 Tour.

Monday's 142-mile third stage from Brunnen to the Austrian town of Nauders is marked by difficult climbs.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press