LUXEMBOURG (AFP) -Former Tour de France stage winner Linus Gerdemann of Germany held on to his overnight lead to win the Tour of Luxembourg for his Leopard-Trek team Sunday.
French sprinter Romain Feillu, of Vacansoleil, won the fourth and final stage.
Gerdemann’s teammate Fränk Schleck attacked one kilometer from the finish in Luxembourg City. Local fans roared with delight as they watched him barreling down the final straightaway to the finish, but Feillu narrowly edged Schleck out for the stage win.
Nonetheless, the Leopard-Trek squad had ample reason to celebrate, winning the overall title in the team’s home tour.
On Wednesday Fabian Cancellara won the opening prologue to pull on the leader’s jersey on day one. While the jersey would see a change in hands following Gerdemann’s solo win on stage two, it would stay within the team for the duration of the five-day race.
“From the outside, this win might have looked easy,” says Gerdemann. “It wasn’t. It was tough work. The team dedicated themselves to winning, and I can’t thank them enough. We had such a strong team. It was probably the strongest team I’ve had in my whole career. Working together on all five stages made this possible, and I’m so happy it worked out for us.”
The fifth and final day of racing began in Mersch. The 152.1 kilometer course opened with a 30.5 kilometer circuit that included the rated Côte de Steinsel. Following the ascent of Côte de Steinsel, three riders escaped from the bunch. The trio would gain a maximum advantage of 3:20 and be brought back to the field inside the second of five laps on the finishing circuit.
“The circuit in the city was tricky. It was up and down the entire time,” explains Gerdemann. “The climb before the finish line was tough, and it made for a nervous finale.”
Cancellara, Jens Voigt and Jakob Fuglsang set a blistering pace on the front of the field to prevent late race attacks, and the pace, along with the cobbled climb, proved too much for some. With three laps remaining, the front group on the circuit had been whittled down to 75 riders. Schleck’s attack came following the final climb on the final lap.
“If Fränk had won the stage, it would have been even better, but I think we’re all happy and relieved to have won the race,” says Gerdemann. “Everyone feels super motivated as we look forward to the next race. The most important part of the season begins now.”
- 1. Romain Feillu (FRA), Vacansoleil-DCM , 3:42:06
- 2. Frank Schleck (LUX), Leopard-Trek, s.t.
- 3. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL), Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, s.t.
- 4. Tony Gallopin (FRA), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, s.t.
- 5. Davide Appollonio (ITA), Team Sky, s.t.
- 1. Linus Gerdemann (Germany), Leopard-Trek , 18:35:32
- 2. Alexandre Geniez (France), Skil-Shimano, at 0:02
- 3. Tony Gallopin (France), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, at 0:03
- 4. Maxime Monfort (Belgium), Leopard-Trek, at 0:05
- 5. Mickael Delage (France), Française des Jeux, at 0:08