Thüringen Rundfahrt, 2010
Stage 1- Emma Johansson wins stage and leads after day 1
Altenburg, 86.7km, 20 July 2009
Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) could not have got her 2010 Thüringen Rundfahrt off to a better start. Johansson was the clear winner on the stage ahead of Elena Kuchinskaya (Gauss RDZ Ormu) and HTC Columbia's Noemi Cantele.
what was probably the toughest start to the Thüringen Rundfahrt in many
years, and Johansson went one better than 2009 to win the stage.
The course was challenging and full of sections with cobbles and short but steep climbs, to test the handling skills of the riders. The rolling roads tested the legs and ensured that the pace was high.
Hanka Kupfernagle (German National Team) made the race, her local knowledge of the course, ensured she was able to navigate the tight turns and fast descents with ease. Kupfernagel attacked after the first sprint point and created the perfect break. Her team make Lisa Brennauer was in second wheel and provided enough eleastic to ensure only a handful of riders who were right at the front could bridge the gap to the German.
At the base of the climb to 21% climb of the Steile Wand, a tough 500m cobbled section in Meerane, A lead group of eight riders had formed. They had a 2 minute 8 second lead of the peloton. The group included, newly crowned Swedish Champion, Johansson, Cantele (HTC Columbia), Kuchinskaya (Gauss), Olga Zabelinskaja (Safi-Pasta Zara), Kupfernagel and team mate Brennauer (German National Team), Sarah Duester (Cervelo Test Team) and Janeke Kanis (Netherland National Team).
The teams of HTC Columbia, Gauss and Cervelo Test Team controlled the peloton and held off any counter attack to protect their riders in the lead group. At the sprint in Altenburg, Kupfernagel led the leaders across the line, ahead of Duester and Zablinskaja.
On the final climb, with 20km to go, Johansson attacked and only Cantele was able to follow. The others chased hard to close the gap on the descent. With 3km to go, Cantele attacked again, Johansson went with her. Kuchinskaya reacted late but caught Cantele on the line for second.
At the finish, Adrie Visser (HTC Columbia) led the main peloton home, 1 minute 31 behind the leaders.
Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling Team) was very happy to have taken the stage. "I love it when you can ride in a break. It is always more exciting to ride that way. It was great to win today. Hanka [Kupfernagel] made the break and I reacted to go with it. She was cornering at incredible speed and it was quite scary at times. She was riding so fast. I knew that I had to attack if I wanted to win and I went on the last climb. Cantele came with me. She attacked with 3km to go but I waited until the final 30m to sprint," said Johansson
Johansson was wearing her new Swedish Champion jersey with pride, "I don't want to take it off," she added.
Elena Kuchinskaya (Gauss RDZ Ormu) was very happy with her ride, "Today was good for me ad my team,"said Kuchinskaya.
Noemie Cantele (HTC Columbia) was happy to have completed the first stage, "It is always good to get the first day over. It was a little bit of a shock for me. I had a week off after the Giro so today was hard at first. My legs felt good and I was in the right position to get into the break. It would have been better if we had two HTC Columbia riders in the break but we didn't. I knew when I needed to attack. At 3km to go, I went and Emma went with me. I thought, "ok" we are only two, this should be ok. Then the rider from Gaus came back and I ended up third. I am happy. I feel good and today gives me a lot of confidance. We have 5 more stages to go," said Cantele.
Hanka Kupfernagel (German National Team) made the decisive break and ended the day as the leader in the sprint and the mountain classifications. " I knew the course today from the Time Trial from last year. I knew where the corners were and how fast I could go. When I attacked, it worked, but I have to say, my teammate Lisa Brennauer made it happen. She allowed a gap to form and everyone had to chase. I knew there were small roads and that the group would be small. It worked out."
"On the climbs I really like the cobblestones and the climb on the Steile Wand was short enough for me to make. I was a little disappointed that I missed the attack in the last few kilometres though. I thought it would go in the last kilometre but it went early," Kupfernagel said.
Ronny Lauke (HTC Columbia) was pleased with how the team performed. "This is my first Thuringen and when we started the day our goal was to ensure we had a rider in the break. Noemie managed to make the break and finished 3rd. We have a podium and a long way to go this week, so things are good, " said Lauke.
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