Savoldelli win Tour de Romandie prologue

Updated: April 25, 2006, 4:01 PM ET
Associated Press

GENEVA Switzerland -- Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli won the prologue of the 60th Tour de Romandie on Tuesday, and former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich made his season debut.

Savoldelli, the 2002 and 2005 Giro d'Italia champion who last year helped Lance Armstrong win his seventh Tour de France title, completed the twisting 2.11-mile lap in 4 minutes, 27 seconds despite hitting a safety barrier a few hundred meters before the finish line.

Spain's Alejandro Valverde was .64 back in second. Australia's Bradley McGee was third.

Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour de France, had been sidelined with an inflamed right knee. Ullrich, whose last race was eight months ago, was 90th of 163 racers, crossing 26 seconds back.

"I have a lot to catch up. I've never started the season so late," Ullrich said. "It was fun to ride after so long. I didn't go all out on this very technical course."

The 32-year-old German, who has finished as Tour de France runner-up five times, said he would use this race to prepare for the Tour de France -- his main goal this season after the retirement of Armstrong.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press