Gerdemann defies the sprinters to take Tirreno-Adriatico stage 1
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gerdemann defies the sprinters to take Tirreno stage 1

by Ben Atkins at 11:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

Linus GerdemannLinus Gerdemann (Team Milram) won the first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico between Livorno and Rosignano Solvay today. The German was part of a four man group that escaped the clutches of the peloton in the closing kilometres and managed to hold off the sprinters teams. Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) was second, Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) was third, and Luca Paolini (Acqua e Sapone) was fourth; Yauheni Hutarovich (la Française des Jeux) led the peloton home, in the same time as the four breakaways.

The rainy stage was dominated by a solo breakaway from Dmytro Grabovskyy (ISD-Neri). The Ukranian built up a huge lead on his own, and still had more than 4 minutes inside the last 25km. A concerted effort from the Astana and Liquigas-Doimo teams, with help from single riders of other teams, pulled back more than a minute on the tiring rider by the 20km to go banner. Grabovskyy energy was spent though, so his lead fell sharply and he was caught soon after.

The next rider to try his luck was Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who was quickly joined by Niki Terpstra (Team Milram). With Team Sky leading the peloton on behalf of Edvald Boasson Hagen, the duo was never able to get more than a few seconds lead.

After a few kilometres Terpstra left Urtasun behind, but he too was soon caught by the motivated peloton. The capture was merely a signal for the next rider to attack, prompting Fabio Taborre (Androni Giocattoli) to jump clear. He was quickly caught setting up a move from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad winner Juan Antonio Flecha, who took advantage of some brief chaos at the front of the peloton.

Flecha’s lead was shortlived, but the attack from Gerdemann, Lastras, Breschel and Paolini with 6km to go was more successful.

In the wet conditions the peloton was beset by a number of crashes in the closing stages. A number of the favourites for the stage win were left behind as the peloton split. Manxman Mark Cavendish, the fastest man in the World last year, found the pace too hot on the small climbs at the end of the stage and was dropped.

"An outstanding finale from our whole team," said Team Milram's Directeur Sportif Christian Henn after the stage.  "We continued to attack at the decisive moment, which made our chance for the victory possible.  Linus was very attentive and won the stage for us very cleverly.  All in all, it was a very hard and strenuous day for everyone in the field.  The temperatures were only between three and six degrees, it rained at the start and the streets were wet the whole way."

Gerdemann's win today is his second of the season after the Trofeo Inca stage in the Mallorca Challenge, and a welcome break for the Milram team. The squad was denied a start in Paris-Nice by race organizers ASO, and the race winning headlines will help their effort to find a replacement sponsor for Milram in 2011.

Result stage 1
1. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram
2. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
3. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) la Française des Jeux

Standings after stage 1
1. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram


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