Lucinda Brand won the Tour of Switzerland. The 32-year-old South Holland won the final stage after a direct duel with Christine Faulkner, the American leader in the standings. Faulkner slid into a curve on wet asphalt just before the finish, shortly after Brand took the lead.
The Trek-Segafredo rider was the first to cross the line and thus achieved the overall victory. She was 2secs behind in the standings and at the finish line, the top three riders could earn 10, 6 and 4secs of bonus respectively. “I had to work really hard for it,” Brand said. “It’s great to win a rating for once.”
The fourth and final stage between Chor and Lanch/Lenz covered 100 km, with a long ascent first and a last ascent after the descent. Already during the first ascent, the peloton was greatly weakened. Brand attacked during the descent and only got Jolanda Neff. The two-time road champion Netherlands, who became world champion in cyclocross at the start of last year, clinched the Swiss on the final climb. The brand made a lead of over half a minute in the rain, but Faulkner came back strong in the final kilometres. And the yellow jersey wearer quickly closed the gap to the brand.
The last hundreds of meters were on a narrow and winding path. Faulkner slipped into a steep bend, after which Brand didn’t even have to run to win the stage and lap. “Fortunately it went well. I am very tired now. It was a nice race, but a tough one with a little bit of everything.”
Brand had already won the first stage on Saturday, defeating her fellow refugees in the race. One day later, Brand lost her leader’s shirt in the individual time trial. She entered the final stage 4 seconds behind Faulkner. Along the way, I was able to reduce that gap to two seconds via additional seconds.
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