Thüringen Rundfahrt, 2009
Stage 6 - Fabiana Luperini wins the final Thuringen stage, Linda Villumsen wins overall, Tina Liebig gets the Amy Gillett award for 2009
Greiz 116km 26 July 2009
Fabiana Luperini (Selle Italia Ghezzi) was the convincing winner of the final stage of the Thüringen Rundfahrt. Monica Holler (Bigla Cycling Team) finished second and Petra Dijkman (Red Sun Cycling) was third.
It was a tense final 5km of the stage, The breakaway group that had formed early on in the stage had a 7 minute 35 second gap of the chasing peloton, that including the race leader, Linda Villumsen. At the start of the day the only rider in the break that was close to Villumsen was Dijkman at 7 minutes 22 seconds behind. After gaining bonus seconds on the stage, the chasing peloton had to close a gap of 7 minute 12 seconds when they passed the 5km to go. The Columbia HTC team moved to the front of the peloton and under the direction of their Director, Petra Rosner, closed the gap to 5 minutes 27 seconds, providing the overall win to Villumsen.
The break created by Svetlana Pauliukaite (Safi-Pasta Zara Titanedi), who attacked the bunch at 36km and gained a 9 second gap before the others joined her. The break formed at 40km and they quickly gained an advantage over the peloton. Initially nine riders formed the break but they were joined on the decent before the first passage of the 'Hankerberg' by an additional 3 riders.
The group of 12 included, Luperini, Holler, Dijkman, Charlotte Becker (Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung), Karin Thurig (Bigla) Eleonora Suelotto (Gauss RDZ Ormu-Colnago), Tina Liebig (DSB Bank), Emilie Aubury (Cervelo Test Team), Carla Swart (MTN Energade), Svetlana Pauliukaite (Safi-Pasta Zara Titanedi) and the Dutch National team's Josien van Wingerden-van den Heerik.
The lead group split on the second time up the 'Hankerberg' after an attack from Luperini. A lead group of five riders formed, Luperini, Holler, Dijkman, Becker and Thurig. This group stayed together until the final climb when Luperini attacked again. On the decent Dijkman had a mechanical and had to chase back. At 1000m Luperini was clear of the chasers and crossed the line in 3 hours 23 minutes 59 seconds.
The rest of the break group rolled in over the next few minutes. Andrea Bosman (Dutch National Team) led the peloton across the line with the main GC contenders, Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) and Susanne Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint).
Tina Liebig was given the Amy Gillett award for her continued performance throughout the 2009 race and her support for her team and conduct during the race.
Luperini (Selle Italia Ghezzi) was a worthy and very happy winner
of the final stage of the 2009 Thüringen Rundfahrt. Reflecting on the
stage, Luperini said, “I found the whole tour very hard. My form
is not that good at the moment. I have been getting better all week and
today I felt good. I hope to be in super condition for the Tour of
Toscana, because I live in
Villumsen (Columbia HTC) was a very happy and humble winner of the
over all, “When the break went today, we were happy to let it go
as there was not one that was high on GC. It was quite relaxing until the
attacks started at 5km. The whole team moved to the front to cover the
moves and it was really, really good. This is the first time I have
actually finished Thüringen, so to win is pretty cool,” said
Monica Holler (Bigla) is a normally known for her sprinting but the final stage turned her into a climber. Holler was at the front of the break when it broke and managed to hold on for second. “It was a hard day. It was a long breakaway. We had to work so hard in the end to try to stay away. When Luperini attacked I was really dead, but we got to the finish in the end, I am happy and it has been a good tour, it did not start well but it has got better and better each day” said Holler.
Petra Dijkman (Red Sun cycling) followed the attack from Luperini on the final climb but suffered a mechanical, “I did not think the break would hold or that I could go into the lead but I really wanted the stage win. When Luperini attacked I could not hold the wheel and then on the down hill my gears jammed and I had to finish the stage on one gear. It was really hard. I am really happy to be third,” said Dijkman.
Tina Liebig (DSB Bank) was very happy to have won the Mountain jersey over all and to be presented with the Amy Gillett award for 2009. “I am very happy to have kept this today. It was such a hard race and everyone is happy that it is over. It was good that it did not rain and it was a hot day today and it was nice for the last stage," said Liebig. On receiving the Amy Gillett award, Liebig was very surprised and very flattered to have been awarded the prize. “I am very surprised and very pound to be awarded this. I tried to work for my team and to win the Mountain jersey and be recognised with this award for doing that, so I am very happy,” added Liebig.
Vos (DSB Bank) was a little disappointed not to be in yellow but
very pleased with the Sprinters and Young riders jerseys. “It was
hot today and I was very tired after yesterday’s stage and the time
trial. I was happy that I could stay in the bunch. I am very happy, I
finished second on the general classification, of course it was the plan
to try to win the tour but second was the best possible and two jerseys
and a stage win, I could not be happier. We are the best team too and the
Mountain jersey so it has been a good week,” said Vos.
Ljungskog (Team Flexpoint) finished third over all and had mixed
feeling about the tour, “It has been a heavy tour, I can feel my
legs now. I am happy to sleep in the car on the way back to
Petra Rossner (Director, Team Columbia HTC) is tactically one of the best Directors in the Women’s peloton. Winning Thüringen for the third year in a row is a major achievement and testament to the direction and depth of the squad. “My knowledge of the race really helped. Most people would have panicked with 7 minutes 30 away. I knew that the last 20km was going to be really hard and that the actual bike race would start there. Others started to attack Linda [Villumsen] but the break had been away for 110km, so I knew they must be tired and that we could easily take 3 minutes in the 20km left and we did, so it worked out,” said Rossner reflecting on the week,
Rossner added, “It is incredible to win this tour for the third time in a row. I am very proud of the girls and we had so much bad luck this year. With three broken bones this year for Judith Arndt, who won here two times in a row was extra pressure on the team. Then Emilia [Fahlin] crashed on stage 1, that put pressure on the team but they pulled through and I am very happy.”
was a really important victory both for Linda and Columbia-HTC," said
Rossner. "Thuringen is one of the hardest stage races of
the season, just one hilly day after another with nowhere flat to recover,
and Linda and the team had to dig deep to defend her lead. We lost
Emilia Fahlin early on in the race, because she crashed out and hurt her
knee, which stretched us a bit more because we were down to five
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