Niedersachsen Rundfahrt - Ger - cat. 2.3
Thorsten Wilhelms ! Again !
Thorsten Wilhelms (team Coast) won the first stage of the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt today by the very closest of margins .The Tour of Qatar winner from Hannover won the 185.4 km stage between Melle and Einbeck after a photo finish which gave him a winning margin of 4/1000 th of a second.. Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) was judged second and in- form Ludor Tesar (Nurnberger ) was judged third.
The race officials required twenty minutes adjudication before they proclaimed Wilhelms the winner who had not really expected the result.
” Actually I was supposed to be acting as lead out for Steffen Radochla - but he lost my wheel so I had to have a go for victory myself .If i had been going for the sprint myself I may have won by a bigger margin” - said comeback king Thorsten who since reurning to racing following his injury has now won two races out of two.
Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer commented “It was impossible to separate Wilhelms and Pollack with the naked eye one. Even looking at the photo it was difficult to separate the two riders .Having said that my team rode well today and if Pollack had been given the decision it would have been deserved . Still , Olaf must not feel disappointed today - he will feel disappointed - but must remember that tomorrow , with a little luck he could be the winner”
Not surprisingly ,it was one of the lesser riders Bernhard Waechter riding for the national team who had tried to impress the professional clubs early on in the race by setting off on a long solo break. At one stage he had a lead of over ten minutes on the peloton . However ,his strength ran out and he was caught with 40 kilometres to go and from then on in it was always going to end in a sprint finish .With two kilometres to go Wilhelms was in debt to his Swedish teammate Stefan Adamsson who guided him up through the bunch so he could participate in the sprint .
Wilhelms was as surprised as anyone else with his victory “ to be honest my ambition in this race was to win in Hanover on Saturday .My form is still not fully there and i wonder how i will do on tomorrows stage where there are two mountains in the first 60 kilometres .After this race it all depends on the decision of May 2nd to see if we have qualified for the tour - “
Tomorrow the 120 riders and 15 teams will tackle the 172 kilometre stage between Einbeck and Wolfsburg .
Stage 1 Result. Melle - Einbeck 185,4 km
1. Thorsten Wilhelms (Teams Coast) 4 h 40:48.
2. Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner)
3. Lubor Tesar (Nürnberger)
4. Davis Kopp (Telekom)
5. Steffen Radochla (Coast) all same time .
Thorsten Wilhelms (Ger-Coa) 4.40.38
Olaf Pollack (Ger-Gst) s.t
Lubor Tesar (Cze-Nur) 0.06
Werner Riebenbauer (Aut-Nur) 0.08
David Kopp (Ger-Tel) 0.10
Steffen Radochla (Ger-Coa) st