24th International Thüringen Rundfahrt, 2011
Stage 3 - Amanda Miller HTC Highroad wins, Johansson defends yellow
Amanda Miller (HTC Highroad) had one of the biggest wins of her career, winning stage 3, the longest stage of the tour at 144.4km. Lizzie Armitstead (Garmin-Cervelo) was second in the sprint to the line ahead of Monia Baccaille (MCipollini Giambenini).
Conditions were overcast again as the bunch rolled out of Schleiz to start the longest stage of the race. In fact it ended up longer than published due to road works. The race had to be diverted and an extra 7.2km was added to the race.
As predicted the break went just after the fist big climb of the day. The bunch were together half way up the first climb. As the leaders accelerated to gain the mountain points, an attack formed as the paced slowed for the recovery. Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus) was the first rider over the climb, followed by Emma Pooley (Garmin Cervelo) and Claudia Hausler (Germany). Pooley's second place was enough to secure the mountain leader jersey for another day. Pooley leads by 4 points ahead of Boubenkova.
Initially ten riders attacked. The lead group included Adrie Visser (HTC Highroad), Australian Jessie MaClean, Sarah Duester (Nederland Bloeit), Trix Worrack (AA Drink), Rommy Kasper (Kuota Speed Kueens), Monia Baccaille (MCipollini), Clare Thomas (Horizon), Denise Ramsden and Veronique Labonte (Juvederm-Specialised) and Sharon Laws (Garmin Cervelo). They held a 50 second advantage over a chase group of six riders and 1 minute 45 over the bunch at the 75km point of the race.
The leaders were joined by Sara Mustonen (Hitec), Ruth Corset (Australia), Miller (HTC Highroad), Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo), Irina Molitcheva (Russia) and Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss) to form a lead group of 16 riders. After 90km the gap was sitting at 1 minute 55 seconds. With three intermediate sprints during the stage, Armitstead ensured she was well placed to secure additional points from the break group. She ended the day 3 points ahead of Johansson in the overall sprint classification.
Hitec with overall leader Johansson in the chase group had to put everything into controlling the gap. All five riders were on the front. They allowed the leaders to have a maximum of 2 minutes 35 seconds before the last 10km to go.
As the leaders started the final lap of Schleiz the gap to the chase group was holding at 2 minutes 5 seconds. Sarah Duester (Nederland Bloeit) attacked the lead group and managed to gain a hundred metres before Armitstead and the rest reeled her in. Russian Molitcheva and Kapusta (Gauss) tried to attack the group but again it came back together. In the final kilometres, Laws attacked. Kapusta chased. Corset (Australia) also gave chase and took Miller with her. In the final 1500m of the race the leaders rode down hill and had to take a sharp right before working their way through the town of Schleiz. Miller attacked with 300m to go and as she cornered the last 150m, Visser was on her wheel. Miller had a clear lead and it was down to the rest to chase.
Miller crossed line with time to celebrate.
In the bunch sprint, Claudia Haulser Germany) just crossed the line ahead of a slowing Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC Highroad).
Trixi Worrack (AA Drink) was awarded most active rider after her effort in the break.
Amy Pieters (Skil-Koga) remains leader in the young rider competition and Australia head the team classification ahead of HTC Highroad and Garmin Cervelo.
Post Race Comments
Amanda Miller (HTC Highroad) could not have been happier with her win on stage 3. "It was pretty miserable out there today. Today the conditions were tough. In the last 10k, Sharon Laws (Garmin-Cervelo) attacked and Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss) chased her. Ruth Corset (Australia) chased and I jumped on her wheel. I drilled the descent. I did not realise the whole peloton was behind me. I kicked with 300m to go, Adrie [Visser] was on my wheel so I knew if they caught me she would be able to go. We had a good day today," said Miller
Emma Johansson (Hitec Products UCK) very relieved and extremely proud of the effort of her team, "I am so impressed by the team. The way there were working today. It was just so amazing to see. They were tired but it was so incredible to see how deep they could dig to get me one more day in yellow. The four of them rode all day on the front. Today the yellow jersey is for them not for me," said Johansson.
Jens Zenke (HTC Highroad Director) was very happy with the teams performance on stage 3, "I am absolutely happy with this result. It came as a surprise. Normally no one has Amanda Miller on the sheet for a victory. So it is a very nice thing. For the GC, it is still the same. It is very open especially between the first nine riders. So not we have two races in one. For GC and for stage wins. So far we have three stage wins so that is super nice," said Zemke
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/07_Thuringen/03_Stage3/PhotoIndex.html]
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