Linus Gerdemann (Milram) took an early-season win in Tuesday’s mountainous Trofeo Inca at the Mallorca Challenge.
The former Tour de France yellow jersey-wearer escaped over the day’s final hurdle at the Cat. 1 Puig Major in the 157.2km stage over the highest climbs on Mallorca to claim victory ahead of two fellow escapees.
“That’s the way to open a new season with a bang!” Gerdemann said. “We put in a super team performance in really bad weather. Especially in light of the very difficult conditions, we showed that we are all motivated and have big plans for this year.”
The peloton rode the first 100 kilometers of the day together. In the first successful attack, a five-man group which included Milram’s Gerdemann, Johannes Fröhlinger and Thomas Rohregger formed the group of the day. The five quickly got away from the field and crossed the Col de Soller, a second-category-ranked climb, with a lead of about 1:30 minutes.
At the start of the second climb up the Puig Major, a category-one climb, Rafael Valls (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) attacked out of the group. The Spaniard built up a 30-second lead on the descent by 3° Celsius and streaming rain.
Behind him, Fröhlinger sacrificed himself for his teammates and led Gerdemann and Rohregger to the top.
Using his top time trial skills, Gerdemann chased down the attacking Walls (Footon-Servetto), who attacked up the steep side of Puig Major. Manuel Vázquez (Andalucia-CajaSur) joined the chase and the threesome joined up with less than 3km to go.
Gerdemann outkicked Valls, with Vázquez coming through third in the rainy, cool stage that saw Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) try in vain to escape with a relatively large group early in the stage that hit the Cat. 2 Soller climb and the Cat. 1 Puig Major climb with less than 30km to go.
Gerdemann powered ahead of his Spanish breakaway rivals to claim his first victory on the 2010 season. The trio finish more than two minutes ahead of the chasing and fractured main group.