The Tour of Germany, newly upgraded to ProTour status for this year, got off to a dramatic start yesterday as Dutch Quick Step rider Bram Tankink took a solo win in Plauen.
The stage was won by Quick Step's Bram Tankink, who attacked from a three-man breakaway with 20km to go. Tankink stayed away despite crashing on a slippery corner in the finishing circuits.
Tankink escaped after just 30km of the 170km stage - marked by bad weather that covered the full range from damp to drenching - following Austrian Bernhard Eisel (Francaise des Jeux) along with Spaniard Juan José Cobo Acebo (Saunier Duval). The trio built a lead that extended to 10 minutes at the 70km mark.
Tankink also picked up both sets of the mountains points on offer on stage 1, putting himself into the king of the mountains' jersey as well as the leader's.
With the sprinters' teams seemingly not wanting to chase - perhaps preferring to avoid a risky bunch kick in the wet conditions, the trio's lead looked secure and was still over seven minutes with 47km to go. The CSC team joined Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile on the front and limited the damage somewhat, with the gap eventually reduced to three minutes.
Meanwhile, Tankink attacked his two breakaway companions with 20km to go and stayed away to the finish.