Thüringen-Rundfahrt: Annemiek van Vleuten takes stage three in another bunch sprint
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thüringen-Rundfahrt: Annemiek van Vleuten takes stage three in another bunch sprint

by Ben Atkins at 5:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Second place is enough to hold race lead for Emma Johansson

annemiek van vleutenAnnemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank-Liv/GIant) took her first win in almost two months as she sprinted to victory in the third stage of the 2013 Thüringen-Rundfahrt, in the town of Schleiz, in eastern Germany. The former Netherlands champion opened up her sprint early on the slightly uphill finishing straight, and finished more than a bike length clear of Yellow Jersey Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), with Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) third.

Van Vleuten received a ten-second time bonus on the line, but second place for Johansson - as well as more bonuses at the stage’s three intermediate sprints - was enough to increase the former Swedish champion’s overall lead to eleven seconds.

The 120.5km stage was dominated by a long solo attack from Austrian champion Andrea Graus (Bigla), who managed to get more than seven minutes clear of the peloton, before being pulled with just over ten kilometres to go.

“I really wanted this stage win, which was the priority today,” said van Vleuten. “Now, with my good overall position, Yellow is of course something to look at. However, even now, with this very tight top of the standings, I don’t think the Tour is going to be decided on bonifications alone.

“After tomorrow’s time trial, we’ll know a lot more.”

The stage began with several attacks, with Joanna Rowsell (Wiggle Honda) and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) the first to get clear. They were joined by Belarus champion Alena Amialyusik (Be Pink) but, as others tried to get across, the break was reabsorbed by the peloton.

As the peloton began to settle, however, Graus attacked just after the first climb of the day after 28km and the 33-year-old Austrian champion rode clear. By the 57km point Graus was a little more than seven minutes clear but, with 45km to go, the Orica-AIS team began to chase her down.

With 25km to go a seven-rider group broke clear in pursuit of the Austrian, with Marta Tagliaferro (MCipollini-Giordana), Ronja Köckerling (Koga), Chloe McConville and Jessica Mundy (Australia), Emilie Aubry (Bigla), Jessie Daams (Boels-Dolmans) and Carla Ryan (CyclelivePlus-Zannata). They were able to get within 1’10” of Graus on the approach to Schleiz, but were pulled back by the peloton before they could reach the finish line and the final 14km finishing loop.

Graus had just 30 seconds of her lead left as she crossed the line, and she was caught two kilometres later.

There were then some brief attempts to get away, notably from Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS), Adrie Visser (Boels-Dolmans), Roxane Knetemann (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) and Valentina Carretta (Mcipollini-Giordana), but the peloton was all together as it arrived at the finish, where van Vleuten was the fastest.

Result stage 3
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/GIant
2. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
3. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
4. Elke Gebhardt (Ger) German National Team
5. Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
6. Amy Cure (Aus) Australian National Team
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
8. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies
9. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
10. Linda Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling

Standings after stage 3
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/GIant


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