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Cycling: White powers to first career win

MATTHEW WHITE, of Australia, raced clear on the final climb to claim his first career win on the 162km seventh stage of the Tour of Switzerland yesterday. White, who made his decisive move on a sharp ascent 10km from the finish, had been part of an 11-man break that raced clear 90km into the stage from Kuessnacht, in Switzerland, to Mauren, in Liechtenstein.

White, who coasted home in three hours, 46 minutes and 55 seconds, finished six seconds ahead of the Italian Roberto Petito and Dutchman Eric Dekker. He said his motivation came from his Vini Caldirola- Sidermec team being dropped from the Tour de France following a failed blood test by team- mate Sergei Gontchar, of Ukraine, at the start of last Thursday's third stage.

"It's the greatest day of my life, my first professional victory," White said. "But I'm very angry that we don't get to go to the Tour de France so I decided to put 100 per cent into the Tour of Switzerland.

"But from now on all my efforts will be for Francesco [Casagrande] and to get him the overall win. [Laurent] Jalabert looks tired and I think Francesco can win."

Jalabert, the world No 1, finished with the main peleton over three minutes behind the winner, but managed to cling to his two-second advantage over Italy's Gilberto Simoni in the overall standings. Three stages remain.

Casagrande is lurking menacingly just 10 seconds adrift, while the Swiss world champion, Oscar Camenzind, and his countryman Laurent Dufaux also remain in contention, 35 and 43 seconds behind respectively.

TOUR OF SWITZERLAND Seventh stage (162km, Kuessnacht to Mauren): 1 M White (Aus) 3hr 46min 55sec; 2 R Petito (It) +6sec; 3 E Dekker (Neth) same time; 4 P Valoti (It) +7; 5 G Lombardi (It) 14; 6 L Dierckxsens (Bel) same time; 7 S Bertoletti (It) +22; 8 M Zarrabeitia (Sp) +24; 9 A Elli (It) +33; 10 C Heule (Swit) 46; Overall: 1 Jalabert 24:3817; 2 G Simoni (It) +2; 3 F Casagrande (It) +10; 4 O Camenzind (Swit) +35; 5 L Dufaux (Swit) +43; 6 Zarrabeitia +1:51; 7 R Sgambelluri (It) +2:26; 8 S Montgomery (Swit) +2:37; 9 G Guerini (It) +3:36; 10 P Tonkov (Rus) +3:40.