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An Italian in Frankfurt
Stage 6. Sulechow - Frankfurt (Oder), 146,6km
Steffen Wesemann and Ondrej Sosenka duel for supremacy in this race is still simmering waiting for Friday's stage. Both the Telekom and CCC teams patrol the front of the peloton ensuring that nothing and no one can disturb their leaders' advantage. So a great opportunity for escapees and lowly ranked men to seize their chance of glory, particularly on a stage as flat as this one.
However the best laid plans and preparations can go astray. Wesemann faced a day to test his nerves. After 108 km he suffered from a chain problem. His attentive team soon got him back into the peloton. Then, with 18 km to go, a crash in the peloton brought him down. Wesemann, who suffered a few scratches to his leg, was quickly pulled back to the peloton by his team mates and having regained his breath made the "thumbs up" sign to the TV cameras to indicate that all was well.
Setting out under dark grey clouds the race started at breakneck speed, as rider after rider tried to take advantage of the situation and make good their escape. Such frantic activity had its effect and after 50 kilometres the peloton lulled itself into a truce.
Peace did not last long. An attack by Eric Baumann (Wiesenhof) after 60 kilometres, saw 10 other riders bridge the gap to form a good working group - Andrea Moletta (Mercatone Uno), Joseba Albizu (Mercatone Uno), René Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), Alessandro Cortinovis (Lampre), Jimmi Madsen (CSC), Kazimierz Stafiej (Mroz), Lukasz Podolski (CCC), Karl Pauwels (Palmans), Phil Zajicek (Saturn), Michal Precechtel (ZVVZ) and Joseba Albizu (Mercatone Uno) - all bridged the gap under the watchful eye of the Telekom team who where leading the peloton.
When it was clear that this group contained no one of any major threat, Wesemann gave the nod to Stephan Schreck who quickly set off in pursuit of the escapees and joined them quite easily. So great team riding by the Telekom boys, they have allowed a group of no threat and many teams to escape and have even managed to get their own man in it.
Good to see the man from Tucson, Arizona, Phil Zajicek, who is having an excellent race, get into the move. He is Saturn's best placed rider on the General Classification in 26th place, 15.23 down, second in the young rider's competition, and a top 25 position in the overall would be a great achievement.
Having allowed the twelve leaders build up a lead 3'20" the Telekom team held the gap - and the “fuyards” pressed on. With 7 kilometres to go the Italian Andrea Moletta (Mercatone Uno-Scanavino), a 24 year old néo-professional, put in an attack of astonishing ferocity. The man from Cittadella did ride for Fassa Bortolo as a stagiaire in 2001 having had some good amateur results with Zalf Euromobil Fior.
Eric Baumann (Wiesenhof) saw the danger and tried to reach the flying Italian. It was an effort in vain. As
Moletta passed the 300 metres to go sign and prepared to raise his arms in triumph, Baumann turned the corner and saw that his brave ride had come to nothing.
For Moletta, though, a great victory and one Mercatone Uno fans will be hoping that his illustrious captain in Italy can emulate.
For Wesemann the dubious delight of explaining to the media that he was all right and was not affected by his fall...
CCC Team website CLICK HERE.
Results Stage 6
1. Andrea Moletta (ITA, Mercatone Uno-Scanavino) 146,6 km in 3h20'41" (43,8 km/h)
2. Eric Baumann (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) à 9 sec.
3. René Haselbacher (ALL, Gerolsteiner) à 15 sec.
4. Alessandro Cortinovis (ITA, Lampre) m.t.
5. Jimmy Madsen (DAN, CSC) m.t.
6. Kazimierz Stafiej (POL, Mroz) m.t.
7. Lukasz Podolski (POL, CCC-Polsat) m.t.
8. Karl Pauwels (BEL, Palmans-Collstrop) m.t.
9. Phil Zajcek (USA, Saturn) m.t.
10. Stephan Schreck (ALL, Telekom) m.t.
1. Steffen Wesemann (ALL, Telekom) 25h55'10"
2. Ondrej Sosenka (TCH, CCC-Polsat) à 10 sec.
3. Jakob Piil (DAN, CSC) à 7'11"
4. Enrico Poitschke (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) m.t.
5. Zbigniew Piatek (POL, Mroz) à 7'16"
6. Marco Pinotti (ITA, Lampre) à 7'19"
7. Marek Galinksi (POL, CCC-Polsat) à 7'20"
8. Tomas Konecny (TCH, Ed'System-ZVVZ) m.t.
9. Jens Heppner (ALL, Team Wiesenhof) m.t.
10. Peter Bencik (TCH, Ed-System-ZVZ) m.t.