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The Great Escape
Stage 5. Javor - Zielona Gora, 182km
After yesterday's epic performances it was no surprise that the Telekom and CCC teams guarded the front of the peloton and a group of 6 escapees of no overall threat were allowed a little freedom.
Even so, the Yellow jersey Steffen Wesemann has enough experience and skill to realise that every second does count and managed to win the first intermediate sprint of the day which increased his lead slightly on Ondrej Sosenka to 10 seconds at the end of the day.
The race was held over the flat western plains of Poland heading toward Germany where the race will spend its last three days. 24 year old Thomas-Bruun Eriksen (CSC), winner of the 3rd Stage of Rhodes earlier in the year, saw his opportunity and attacked after 23 kilometres of racing. Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) quickly joined him and the two men set off for what was going to be a 189 kilometre adventure, cheered on by huge numbers of roadside fans and alternatively soaked and sunned as they progressed through beautiful countryside.
When four men tried to bridge the gap after 60 kilometres the two leaders on the road wisely decided to wait for them. A good move, particularly for Bruun Erikson who had teammate Frank Schleck crossing the gap with: Ralph Grabsch (Wiesenhof), Alexander Klymenko (Mroz) and Gregorz Rosolinski (Servisco-Koop).
Meanwhile the peloton behind was a wedge of Telekom pink with CCC orange just behind and the gap reaching its maximum at 9' 25", and both teams knowing that their men were safe in positions of first and second place.
When the peloton finally did react it was too late, the stage would be won by one of the 6 “fuyards.”
Meanwhile the CSC numerical advantage (to the credit of both riders) did pay off. With 3,5 km to go, Ordowski, decides his best chance is solo, and (considering he was at the start of the break) put in a great effort. Thomas-Bruun Eriksen and Frank Schleck respond to bring the escapees back together and set up the sprint.
“He has got those winning instincts that are required if you want to win races”, said Bjarne Riis and so it proved. In front of huge crowds the young Dane seemed in a different league over the last 500 metres.
Highlights of the race are broadcast nationally on German TV on the excellent MDR Channel at 17.00 and so a huge tea time audience watch this race and Wesemann, looking for a fifth victory, is clearly enjoying making up for his lost spring classic campaign.
He took the opportunity today to thank his wife Caroline - "Caroline is the luck of my life, my great support."
Meanwhile Team CSC cannot stop winning - this news from the team site -
The victory was Eriksen’s second and the team’s seventh so far this season. At the end of February, the 24-year-old Dane won the toughest stage in the Tour of Rhodes.
”Frank and I cooperated perfectly. As we were approaching the line, Frank made several attacks. He was caught every time but his attacks allowed me to save my strength for the sprint where Frank was there to help me again. It is nice to win. I will never get tired of that feeling. I actually was not feeling too well after yesterday’s tough stage but I was able to succeed anyway”, said Thomas Bruun Eriksen after his biggest career win so far.
”Thomas was part of the breakaway right from the start and he was joined by Frank later on. It was very impressive to watch our two young riders in that kind of successful performance. They demonstrated how it is done: from the front and with the right instinct in the finale. We are still in contention for the final podium spot and the spirit is high after today’s stage win”, said the proud directeur sportif, Johnny Weltz, after the great Team CSC day in Poland.
The CCC camp and Ondrej Sosenka are clear where their tactics will lie -
Wesemann, the Telekom cyclist, remains in the lead and even extended his lead on his only real rival Ondrej Sosenka (CCC-Polsat) to 10 seconds thanks to win on intermediate sprint in Jawor. Looks like the race will not be decided until Friday's mountain stage to Klingenthal in Germany.
So two days for the fans to enjoy the sights and sounds of the peloton before the “giants of the road” once again battle it out.
CSC Team website CLICK HERE.
Results Stage 6
1. Thomas-Bruun Eriksen (DAN, CSC) 212 km in 5h09'37" (41,1 km/h)
2. Ralph Grabsch (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) m.t.
3. Volker Ordowski (ALL, Gerolsteiner) m.t.
4. Alexander Klymenko (UKR, Mroz) m.t.
5. Frank Schleck (LUX, CSC) m.t.
6. Gregorz Rosolinski (POL, Servisco-Koop) m.t.
7. Danilo Hondo (ALL, Telekom) à 2'38"
8. Jaroslaw Zarebski (POL, CCC-Polsat) m.t.
9. Michal Precechtel (TCH, Ed'System-ZVVZ) m.t.
10. Enrico Degano (ITA, Mercatone Uno-Scanavino) m.t
1. Steffen Wesemann (ALL, Telekom) 21h32'47"
2. Ondrej Sosenka (TCH, CCC-Polsat) à 10 sec.
3. Enrico Poitschke (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) à 7'11"
4. Zbigniew Piatek (POL, Mroz) à 7'13"
5. Marco Pinotti (ITA, Lampre) à 7'16"
6. Marek Galinksi (POL, CCC-Polsat) à 7'19"
7. Tomas Konecny (TCH, Ed'System-ZVVZ) à 7'20"
8. Jens Heppner (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) m.t.
9. Peter Bencik (TCH, Ed-System-ZVZ) m.t.
10. Manuel Calvente (ESP, CSC) m.t.