25th International Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen
Stage 6 - Jessie Daams wins the final stage
Jessie Daams (AA Drink) won the sprint to the line in Zeulenroda to ahead of Hitec's Elisa Longo Borghini and British road champion, Sharon Laws (AA Drink)
In the closing kilometres, Laws attacked and Daams and Longo-Borghini went with her.
Laws and Daams tried to counter attack to drop Longo-Borghini but the young Italian was too strong. In the end Daams decide to go strong in the last 100m and the out sprinted Longo-Borghini on the line. In the chase for the overall, Judith Arndt (Orica-AIS) secured 6 bonus seconds which placed her well ahead of compatriot Trixi Worrack (Specialized Lululemon) and Emma Johansson (Hitec). This year was the 7th anniversary of the death of Amy Gillet and it was marked by the return to the race, by Alexis Rhodes (Orica-AIS). Rhodes who was seriously injured by the crash has battled back to racing and this is her last year of racing before retiring. I was fitting that she was awarded the Amy Gillet award.
Long-Borghini almost had a clean sweep of the jerseys, winning, the Young rider, mountain and Most Aggressive. Johansson won the sprint jersey. Ester Fennel (Koga) won the best amateur.
The final stage started in overcast conditions and 15 degrees. Some early rain fell but stopped before the race started. 83 riders started the final stage, 106.4km round Zeulenroda. Jessie Daams (AA Drink) attacked the already the third time!
Abus Nutrixxion and Kleo Ladies tried to attack early but they were not allowed to get away. After 10km of racing, Romy Kasper (RusVelo) and Natalie Lamborelle (Kleo) increased the at the head of the bunch. Liesbet De Vocht (RaboWomen) counterattacked just before the first time up the locally named "Hankaberg"and managed to gain a 50m gap on the field. Longo-Boghini and Arndt was active on the front with Johansson.
By the time they reached the top of the climb, Johansson (Hitec) was first over ahead of Trixi Worrack (Specialized Lululemon), Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink) and Claudia Häusler (Orica AIS). A leading group of 35 riders formed at the head of the race.
At the first of the intermediate sprints Arndt (Orica AIS) to decide to attack early to secure maximum points ahead of Worrack (Specialized Lululemon) and Johansson (Hitec)
Despite a number of attempt to attack the leading group it stayed together for the second time up the climb. The speed was 41.5 km/hr as the leading group approached the climb for a second time. Sarah Duester (RaboWomen) and Natalia Boyarskaya (RusVelo) tried to go early. Longo Borghini was watching and chased and led over the top ahead of Häusler and Boyarskaya. Mascha Pijnenborg (Dolmans Boels) was next.
A leading group of 7 formed at the head of the race. The group included, Longo Borghini (Hitec), Duester (RaboWomen), Elena Cecchini (Mcipollini Giambenini), Boyarskaya (RusVelo), Pijnenborg (Dolmans-Boels), Corazza (Kleo Ladies Team) and Hausler (Orica-AIS). They opened up 30 second lead on the group of 27 chasers.
The lead group reduced to 6 after 45km of racing, Häusler dropped back to join her team to control the front of the race for Arndt.
The next time through the sprint Duester led Dijkman and Pijnenborg over the line. The advance of the leading group remains at 50 seconds and Orica AIS were working hard to close the gap.
1000m before the third time over the mountain classification the lead was reducing quickly. On the climb the lead group was swallowed by the chase. Johansson tried attack to get away from Arndt,m but Arndt was not letting the Swedish champion go anywhere.. The crowds had built and approximately 2000 people lined the side of the climb. Boyarskaya (RusVelo), Longo Borghini, and Johansson and Arndt crossed over the top first.
Amanda Spratt (Orica AIS) tried to attack on the descent and a leading group of 17 riders formed. On the run to the second sprint, Arndt secured extra seconds ahead of Johansson and Häusler.
As the leading started the final lap, there were constant attacks. As a result the leaders opened up a 1 minute 35 second lead ahead of the main bunch.
Hanka Kupfernagel (RusVelo) tried to launch an attack but could not get away. Then Duester attacked, but Arndt responded. Arndt's team mate Spratt and Pijnenborg tried to attack again before the final time up "Hanka Berg" but Duester covered the move and tried to go alone again. She managed to gain a 14 second lead but the group closed in with 5km to go.
In the last 3km Laws attacked and Daams and Longo-Borghini went with Laws., Daams tried to counter attack to drop Longo-Borghini but the young Italian was too strong. In the end Daams decide to go strong in the last 100m and then outsprinted Longo-Borghini on the line.
Look out for lots of video interviews this week
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