26th International Thueringen Rundfahrt der Frauen
Stage 1 -Johansson wins opening stage
Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) won the uphill sprint in the opening stage of the 26th running of the Thueringen Rundfahrt. In the sprint to the line, Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolman) was second ahead of a fast finishing Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo Women). Johansson holds the yellow jersey for stage 6 seconds ahead of van Vleuten and 9 seconds ahead of Armitstead. Rounding our the top four on the same time was Ellen van Dijk (Specialized Lululemon).
The bunch stayed together for most of the short first stage. 92 starters, representing 16 teams rolled out under warm and sunny skies. The course was a large 41km loop, followed by a 23.3km smaller loop. The typical rolling stage included two sprints and two mountain classifications. Setting a relatively quick pace the peloton arrived at the fist climb after 8.8km, with Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies) heading the peloton. The pace, had however done some damage to the less experienced and not so inexperienced riders. A number dropped back on the long drag to the top of the climb. Alena Amialiusik (Be Pink) was second ahead of Jessie Daams (Boels Dolmans).
A small group of five tried to escape on the decent but they didn't manage to create a break. Valentina Scandolara (McCipollini Giordana) did mange to attack once the five were back in the bunch. She only managed to gain 100m before she was reeled in.
With the peloton all together at the first sprint point, Van Vleuten was first ahead of Johansson and Scandolara. The second of the climbs after 31.3km of racing, saw, former German champion Hanka Kupfernagel (GER) reach the top first ahead of Daams and Amialiusik.
At the end of the first big lap, Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda) attacked with Ester Fennel (Koga Ladies). The pair managed to gain a maximum 35 second gap, before Fennel was unable to hold the pace set by Villumsen and dropped back to the peloton. Villumsen continued alone. With 8km to go, Villumsen's gap was coming down as the chase from Orica-AIS, Rabo Women and McCipollini Giordana took control. With 5km to go the gap was down to 20 seconds. At 3km to go, the peloton had Villumsen in their sights. At the 2km to go point, the peloton was in tract.
The narrow climb to the finish line was quite tight for the bunch. Johansson hit the front with 150 to go and managed to hold on. Ellen van Dijk, looked like she would get third but she was overtaken by van Vleuten just before the line.
Johansson (Orica-AIS) also holds the Sprinter jersey. Christina Majerus (Sengers) hold the Mountain jersey, Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda) holds the Most Active jersey, Alena Amialiusik (Be Pink) the U25 [There was not enough riders for the U23 category] and the best Amateur riders is Carolin Shiff (Koga Ladies)
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
Video from Stage >>
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