24th International Thüringen Rundfahrt, 2011
Stage 6 - Armitstead sprints for final stage, Johansson snatches yellow
Lizzie Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo) won the final stage of the 2011 Thuringen Rundfahrt, with a two up sprint against Judith Arndt (HTC Highroad). Russian Natalia Boyarskaya led the chase group home. Emma Johansson (Hitec) finished in 9th to secure the overall honours.
This years race has been on of the closest for a few years. Not since 2007 was the final stage down to seconds between the leader and second place. Amber Neben (HTC Highroad) led the race overnight by 3 seconds ahead of Johansson.
Swedish champion Johansson and her team rode a perfect race. They led from the front for the first 22km of the 23km to set Johansson up perfectly for the first of the sprint points at the start/finish line in Altenburg. Coming into the sprint, Armitstead tried to attack early but she was reeled in by Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC Highroad) with Johansson battling for second place with HTC Highroad's young sprinter Australian Chloe Hosking. Johansson got the better of Hosking and took second and 2 valuable seconds off Neben.
The pace of the race was extremely high as it left Altenburg to climb to the first of the mountain point classification points. Amanda Miller (HTC Highroad) attacked and managed to gain 12 seconds lead on the chase. Over the climb, Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss) crossed second ahead of Natalia Boyarskaya (RUS).
The break was pulled back as the peloton reached Altenburg for the second time. Again it was Teutenberg who led out the sprint. This time, Johansson beat, Judith Arndt (HTC Highroad) for second. She gained another 2 seconds and this placed her 1 second in the overall lead ahead of Neben.
An immediate counter attack from the peloton allowed the first big break of the day form. In the group were; Linda Villumsen (AA Drink), Loes Gunniwijk (Nederalnd Bloiet), Sharon Laws (Garmin Cervelo), Claudia Hausler (Germany), Helen Wyman (Horizon), Amy Pieters (Skil-Koga) and Ruth Corset (Australia).
The leaders managed to gain a maximum of 48 seconds. If the race had been stopped at this point, Villumsen would have been in yellow. The chase group were of course not going to let Villumsen away. With the third sprint approaching, the gap started to come down. To 33 seconds then 10 seconds. Hausler led the leaders across the line, followed by Villumsen and Laws.
With the gap coming down quickly, the leaders just managed to get through the last of the mountain points climbs. Wyman took first place over the climb ahead of Villumsen and Laws.
As the leaders turned to Mockern with 20km to go, the main peloton where within 3 seconds. The chase was led by the yellow jersey leader, Neben. Johansson was on her wheel. As the leaders were caught, Neben attacked. Judith Arndt was with her as was Teutenberg. Unfortunately for Neben, so was Johansson.
Within 3km however the break was ended. Again a counter attacked formed, this time it was Armitstead leading the group. She was joined by Trixi Worrack (AA Drink), Boyarskaya and Arndt. The group quickly gained momentum and their lead went out to 26 seconds. With 10km to go, Marieke van Wanroij (Nederland Bloeit) attacked the group to try to bridge across. She could not make it in the windy conditions.
As the leaders reached 1.5km to go the chase were within seconds. Armitstead and Arndt attacked again on the technical climb to the finish. Armitstead crossed the line first just ahead of Arndt on the line. Boyarskaya just managed to hold on to third ahead of the closing bunch. Hanka Kupfernagel (Horizon) rode home for 4th ahead of Elke Gebhardt (Germany), Trixi Worrack (AA Drink), Fabianna Luperini (Mcippollini Giambenini), Kirsten Wild (AA Drink), Emma Johansson (Hitec) and Daphny can den Brand (AA Drink) for the top 10. Neben finished in 23rd position.
In the overall standings, Johansson finished 6 seconds ahead of Neben, Young Australian Shara Gillow completed her first Thuringen Rundfahrt in third, 32 seconds down.
Amy Pieters (Skil-Koga) won the young riders competition 10 minutes 59 seconds ahead of hre nearest rival, Denise Ramsden (Juvederm-Specialized).
Emma Pooley (Garmin Cervelo) was the clear winner in the Mountain points competition. She completed the week with 22 points, 10 points ahead of Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus).
Lizzie Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo) won the tight sprint competition. She was just one point ahead of Johansson and Arndt.
After huge attempts to get away all week, Trixi Worrk was the well deserved winner of the Most Active jersey.
The annual award of the Amy Gillet Memorial Trophy was awarded to Sarah Story (Horizon). Story made her debut at the Thuringen Rundfarht. Story is better known for making her debut as a swimmer at Barcelona in 1992 when she was just 14 years of age, between then and 2004, Storey won 16 Paralympic medals in the pool – five gold, eight silver and three bronze – before switching to cycling for Beijing, where she won gold in the time trial and the individual pursuit. Storey, who now rides professionally for the Horizon Fitness team finished in 62 nd place overall.
Post Race Comments
More to come - Johansson interview on http://www.youtube.com/user/womenscycling
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/07_Thuringen/06_Stage6/PhotoIndex.html]
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