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68th Skoda - Tour de Luxembourg - 2.HC
By Bart Hazen
Date: 6/8/2008
68th Skoda - Tour de Luxembourg - 2.HC

68th Skoda - Tour de Luxembourg - 2.HC
A battle to the finish with two rivals separated by one second...

The 68th Tour de Luxembourg from June 4 to 8 ended in an exciting battle as the difference between winning or losing the Tour came down to one second. Rabobank rider Joost Posthuma won the race ahead of Michael Albasini (Liquigas). Luxembourg native, CSC's Fränk Schleck completed the podium. For Posthuma it was his second win in a stage race. Earlier this year he was the best in the 3-days of the Panne. A round-up the Tour:

Prologue: Luxembourg - Ville Prologue (ITT), 2.4km
The prologue from over 2,4 km was won by the specialist himself Fabian Cancellara. Cancellara who is building form for the Tour de France won with 5 seconds on Jimmy Engoulvent and 12 seconds on four other riders but Austrian Harald Starzengruber was placed as third. Roman Kreuziger, the 2nd of the Tour de Romandie, was fourth and Young Belgian Kevyn Ista fifth.

Fabian Cancellara at the Tour of Luxembourg.   Photo © 2008 Karen Lambrecht

Prologue Result
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 3.38
2 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Credit Agricole 0.05
3 Harald Starzengruber (Aut) Elkhaus - Simplon 0.12

4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas
5 Kevin Ista (Bel) Agritubel
6 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel
7 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Astana 0.13
8 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
9 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Astana
10 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop 0.14

Stage 1: Luxembourg - Mondorf, 177.2km
The first stage between Luxembourg and Mondorf over 177,2 km was animated by Claude Wolter (Team CC Differdange) and Cyrille Lemoine (Credit Agricole). They attacked after 10 km, built up a lead over four minutes, but were caught just before the finish. In the bunch sprint it was Juan José Haedo who won ahead of Romain Feillu and Borut Bozic. For CSC it’s the second stage win in as many days. Fabian Cancellara remains in the lead.

Stage 1 Results
1 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team CSC 4.34.59
2 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
3 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop

4 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
5 Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Preti Mangi
6 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
7 Clemens Fankhauser (Aut) Elkhaus - Simplon
8 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole
9 Jav Benitez Pomares (Spa) Benfica
10 Haral Starzengruber (Aut) Elkhaus - Simplon

Stage 2: Schifflange - Differdange, 197km
The second stage between Schifflange and Differdange over 197 km was a tough stage. Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas (Credit Agricole) took his first victory as a professional by beating Sergey Lagutin and Cyril Lemoine in the sprint. The bunch was about 40 riders strong. Fabian Cancellara remained in the lead.

Stage 2 Results
1 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Credit Agricole 4.56.40
2 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Cycle Collstrop
3 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Credit Agricole

4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
6 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
7 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Preti Mangi
8 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Credit Agricole
9 David Kopp (Ger) Cycle Collstrop
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas

Stage 3: Wiltz - Diekirch, 172.2km
The third stage from Wiltz to Diekirch over 172 kilometers was the queens stage of this years event. The time differences in the end were quite big as Swiss Michael Albasini (Liquigas) won the stage in a sprint of  two ahead of Joost Posthuma (Rabobank). At 13 seconds it was Fränk Schleck who finished in third.

Halfway through the stage 18 riders attacked and further selection in this group was made on the final climb. During the climb Albasini and Posthuma's attack shattered the group and fought to the finish with only Schleck coming close in the final km to catching the duo. Due to his second place Posthuma took over the lead from Cancellara. He has an advantage of one second on stage winner Michael Albasini.

Stage 3 Result
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas 4.28.03
2 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.13

4 Jos Pimenta Costa M (Por) Benfica 0.52
5 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank
6 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Credit Agricole
7 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Cycle Collstrop
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas
9 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Elkhaus - Simplon
10 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank

Stage 4: Mersch - Luxembourg, 157km
The fourth and final stage from Mersch to Luxembourg over 157 km was again a very tough stage with finish on a tough climb called the Cote de Clausen.

The victory in this stage went to Italian Salvatore Commesso (Preti Mangi) who was the best of a break of thirteen riders. Sergey Rudaskov was second and Daniel Petrov third. The first part of the bunch finished almost 3.00 minutes down on Commesso; in this group were rivals for the G.C.: Albasini and Posthuma. Albasini was not able to gain 1 second or more on Posthuma for the overall win. The final podium was completed by Fränk Schleck.

Stage 4 Results
1 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Preti Mangi 3.36.43
2 Sergey Rudaskov (Rus) Cycle Collstrop 0.07
3 Daniel Andonov Petrov (Bul) Benfica

4 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Astana 0.10
5 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas
6 Marc De Maar (Ned) Rabobank 0.12
7 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana 0.14
8 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 0.15
9 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 0.17
10 Hannes Blank (Ger) CC Differdange 0.25

Final ranking (top 30)
1 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 17.43.02
2 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas 0.01
3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.18

4 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Credit Agricole 0.54
5 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 0.56
6 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank 1.00
7 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Elkhaus - Simplon 1.08
8 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Cycle Collstrop 1.09
9 Jos Pimenta Costa M (Por) Benfica 1.10
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 1.29

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11 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Preti Mangi 2.00
12 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 2.02
13 Sergey Rudaskov (Rus) Cycle Collstrop 2.16
14 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC 3.16
15 Borut Bozic (Slo) Cycle Collstrop 4.53
16 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner 4.56
17 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Credit Agricole 4.58
18 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 5.06
19 Clement Lhotellerie (Fra) Skil - Shimano 5.07
20 Kalle Kriit (Est) Mitsubishi-Jartazi 5.23
21 José Azevedo (Por) Benfica 5.54
22 Emilien Ben Berges (Fra) Agritubel 11.47
23 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 15.05
24 Dana Andonov Petrov (Bul) Benfica 17.23
25 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Astana 17.25
26 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana 17.31
27 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Liquigas 17.32
28 Hannes Blank (Ger) CC Differdange 18.13
29 Jan Valach (Svk) Elkhaus - Simplon 19.14
30 Javier Benitez Pomares (Spa) Benfica 20.06

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