Posted by Editoress on 04/30/06
International Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahr Germany
The final stage of the 41st Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfart began where yesterday's stage finished, in the picturesque city of Koblenz, near the junction of the Mosel and Rhein rivers. The course traveled south along the Rhein, passing quaint villages and riverside resorts, endless rows of vineyards, and numerous castles and villas dating back to the 14th century. As the Rhein kicked east, the course continued south, and into the hills approaching Kaiserslautern, the starting point back on day 1.
Gerolsteiner took early control of the race, keeping all breaks in check until a 6 man group including Navigators Insurance's Mark Walters escaped around 20 km. The break did not present a threat to the race leader, and Gerolsteiner seemed content to let the gap roll out. Their German rival, T-Mobile, however, was not happy with the situation. A time bonus sprint at 32 km was important if T-Mobile's 4TH placed rider, Thomas Zeigler was going to try to move up in the classification. So, with the gap at just over 1 and a half minutes, T-Mobile put the entire team at the front. The Germans spearheaded a high-speed chase that would spell doom for the breakaway, but the leaders were riding strong enough that T-Mobile could not get them back in time for the sprint. With most of the work done, they continued their chase just the same, and the break was caught shortly before the day's first climb at 75 km.
The race stayed controlled from there until the day's only KOM at 114 km, where a volley of attacks from Navigators and the Spanish Kaiku team split the field, and put three of Haselbacher's work force out the back. The two main groups got back together on the descent, and from there, Gerolsteiner and Unibet.com controlled the field toward the finish. The screaming peloton blazed into Kaiserslautern at nearly 60 km/hr, preparing for a lightening fast sprint. Navigators hit the top with 2km to go, with 4 riders setting the pace for Hilton Clarke. T-Mobile came over the top with about 600 meters to go, and Clarke was straight to their wheel. Chocolade Jacques' Steven Caethoven also had good position and he slung from behind in the closing meters to snatch the victory. Clarke did not have quite enough speed at the finish after a week in the German hills, but he rewarded his team's efforts with a 6th place on the stage, showing consistent progress in the sprint all week. "The guys did a great job at the finish, but there were a couple of faster guys today. I was pretty excited when I saw the 10km to go sign and realized that all the hills were behind us. I heard Ed telling us to start getting organized for the sprint, and I got straight on the radio and said okay lads, now you're working for Hilty!"
The Navigators Insurance Team will start Henninger Turm, one of Germany's biggest one-day races tomorrow in Frankfurt. The line up for the UCI 1.HC is: Ben Brooks, Glen Chadwick, Hilton Clarke, Valeriy Kobzarenko, Sergey Lagutin, David O'Loughlin, and Mark Walters.
Stage 5: Koblenz to Kaiserslautern, 148.4 km
1. Steven Caethoven (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen, 3:34:47
2. Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team
3. Andre Greipel (Ger) T-Mobile Team
4. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5. Rene Weissinger (Ger) Skil-Shimano
6. Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
7. Werner Riebenbauer (Aut) Team Vorarlberg
8. Robert Wagner (Ger) Team Milram
9. Jonas Owczarek (Ger) Team Sparkasse
10. Paul Martens (Ger) Skil-Shimano
34. Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
35. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, all s.t.
66. Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 0:09
88. Glen Chadwick (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 0:20
95. Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 0:44
100. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 5:52
1. Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner, 19:36:00
2. Pablo Urtasun Perez (Esp) Kaiku, at 0:10
3. Thomas Ziegler (Ger) T-Mobile Team, 0:11
4. Ricardo Serrano (Esp) Kaiku, 0:12
5. Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Team Wiesenhof Akud, 0:15
6. Bert Dewaele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, 0:19
7. Bjorn Glasner (Ger) Team Lamonta, s.t.
8. Steven Kleynen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, 0:21
9. Lars Wackernagel (Ger) Team Wiesenhof Akud, 0:22
10. Alberto Losada (Esp) Kaiku, 0:27
24. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 0:41
42. Cesar Grajales (Col) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 11:05
53. Glen Chadwick (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 14:32
68. Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 23:47
71. Mark Walters (Can) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, s.t.
85. Shawn Milne (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 28:07
97. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 37:19
1. Kaiku, 58:49:05
2. Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, 0:16
3. Team Wiesenhof Akud, 0:17
4. Gerolsteiner, 0:36
5. T-Mobile Team, 0:53
12. Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, 20:22
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