Thüringen-Rundfahrt: Emma Johansson takes early lead in stage one sprint finish
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Thüringen-Rundfahrt: Emma Johansson takes early lead in stage one sprint finish

by Ben Atkins at 5:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Late break from Linda Villumsen chased down in the final kilometre

emma johanssonEmma Johansson (Orica-AIS) won the opening stage of the 2013 Thüringen-Rundfahrt in a bunch sprint in the town of Schleusingen, eastern Germany. The former Swedish champion, who won the 2011 edition of the race, sprinted to victory at the end of the short 64.3km race, ahead of British champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans), with Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) third.

“It’s nice to come back and win right away,” said Johansson. “The team backed me up so well. I’m happy to pull it off for them and for myself, as well. We worked hard together for this.”

The stage saw the peloton stay together for most of its length, but an attack from Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda) on the final climb threatened to foil the peloton. The naturalised New Zealander was just unable to hold off the chase from behind, however, and was caught with just 500 metres to go.

“With Linda up the road, we had to risk using up riders before the lead-out,” Johansson explained. “It was better to have the girls pulling Linda back than to save them for the train. I’d rather do the sprint on my own and race for victory than have a train to deliver me to second place.

“Just before the right-hand corner, one of the girls from the Australian National team jumped. I jumped on her wheel, and she ending up giving me the perfect lead-out. She took me through the right-hand corner and then the left-hand corner at full speed.

“Ellen came around her and opened her sprint after the second corner,” Johansson continued. “I matched my speed to Ellen. I knew I needed to build up to my sprint on the uphill and unleash when we hit the cobbles. I did that exactly and never looked back.”

The first climb of the stage came after just 8.8km, and was taken by Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies), ahead of Alena Amialyusik (BePink) and Jessie Daams (Boels-Dolmans). Over the top a five-rider group escaped, with Villumsen, Amialyusik, Daams, Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) and Shara Gillow (Orica-AIS), but there was little cohesion in the break and it was soon chased down by the peloton.

Van Vleuten then took the first intermediate sprint, ahead of Johansson and Scandolara, then the second climb was taken by local rider Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) ahead of Daams and Amialiusik, but nobody was able to escape again. Johannson then took the second sprint, ahead of van Vleuten and Kupfernagel.

The first late attack came from Loren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon) but, after the Australian was pulled back, Villumsen put in her attack with around 15km to go. She was followed by Gillow and Esther Fennel (Koga), but neither was able to stay with the Wiggle Honda rider.

Villumsen was 35 seconds clear over the final climb, as Majerus took second place ahead of Adrie Visser (Boels-Dolmans), but this had been cut to 25 seconds with four kilometres to go.

Into the final kilometre Villumsen was still ten seconds clear, but was finally caught with 500 metres to go.

Result stage 1
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
2. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
4. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon
5. Alena Amialyusik (Blr) Be Pink @ 2s
6. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products
8. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
9. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies
10. Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products

Standings after stage 1
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant @ 6s
3. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans @ 9s
4. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon @ 15s
5. Alena Amialyusik (Blr) Be Pink @ 17s
6. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products
8. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
9. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies
10. Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products

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