Zeulenrohda - 3.8km
Thüringen turned on the charm for the prologue to the 19th tour on Tuesday. With clear blue skies, not a cloud in sight, the thermometer hovered at around 30'C. There were bands, stalls and plenty of barbequed sausages for the spectators to buy, who arrived to each the race in their hundreds.
The course was fast and mainly flat, after a leg-sapping start hill.
The main incident of the day occurred when Corine Hierckens (AA Drink) managed to stay upright and avoid hitting a spectator who had strolled into the middle of the road. This occurred just past the start line and despite barriers, police, marshals with warning whistles to keep the road clear. The shopper was seemingly oblivious to the race and was lucky not be injured. Hierckens composed herself, clipped back into her pedals and continued on her way. She probably lost 20 seconds in stopped time and ended up finishing 79th out of 98 finishers, 50 seconds down on winner, Christiane Soeder (Univega).
Soeder began her season with a leader's jersey, when she took the first (similarly flat and distanced) time trial stage of the Geelong Tour. Today, she powered her way around the 3.8km course to beat second-placed Linda Villumsen (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) by 4 seconds.
Univega did well, 4 riders placed in the top ten - Soeder, Cooke, Thürig and Doppmann.
Results - Top 20
General Classification Top 20
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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