Showers spoil Julich's chances
Yesterday's opening road stage of the Post Danmark Rundt (Tour of Denmark) produced a surprise winner, when almost everyone - except Team CSC's Ivan Basso - was ready for a sprint finish. As Jens Voigt was caught by the peloton nearing the finish, his team-mate Basso launched a counter and soled into Skive nine seconds clear of the front group of 45 riders.
"I'm happy to be able to finish off the nice work done by the team," said Basso on team-csc.com. "This isn't exactly my terrain, but I felt good and I can feel that I'm still on form after the Tour. This is an important race for my team, and it was a pleasure to win in front of this fantastic crowd."
Added team manager Bjarne Riis, "It was great to see Ivan win like this. It takes guts and class to attack on streets soaked with rain, but he's clearly in excellent shape and really has the energy to go the distance. The race is still open, but I think, we've had the perfect start with Ivan in yellow."
Over in the Netherlands, late-afternoon showers at the Eneco Tour of Benelux spoiled the chances of any of the favourites taking the leader's jersey on the opening day. With a number of sections of the 5.7 kilometre prologue on cobbles, pre-race favourite Bobby Julich decided not to take any chances and finished in 89th place, 25.56 seconds behind stage winner Rik Verbrugghe from Quick.Step-Innergetic. Michael Blaudzun was the team's best-placed rider in 11th place, just four seconds off the winning time.
Said directeur-sportif Scott Sunderland: "It was impossible to get around in the corners for both Julich and [Vladimir] Gusev, who were our two last riders. Already after 100 metres they'd lost about five seconds, and then there was no chance of catching up at such a short distance. Bobby was of course frustrated, but still feels in great shape and determined to retaliate later on in the race, while Gusev took quite a few chances in the rainy streets and ended up with a fair result."