Bennati wins stage as high mountains loom
Today's flat sprinter's stage of the Deutschland Tour from Bodenmais to Kufstein was won by Italian Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Caffita), who got his front wheel just ahead of his compatriot Filippo Pozzato's, who already scored a stage win yesterday. German Sebastian Siedler (Wiesenhof) came in third under finally sunny skies in Austria.
"I dedicate this win to my wife, Chiara, who is always with me, also in the bad moments, and to my teammates who did a wonderful job today: they all worked at 100 percent for me and I really want to thank them," said Bennati after the finish.
Meanwhile, Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann added one more mountain point to his score and took the mountains jersey from his teammate Levi Leipheimer. "I will try to defend it," said the 25 year-old German, "although this isn't really my league." But who knows? Wegmann already showed in 2004 that he was able to match the big guys when he won the mountains jersey in Italy.
No big changes occurred at the top of the general classification, and Dutchman Bram Tankink (Quick.Step) will wear the leader's jersey again tomorrow when the Deutschland Tour hits the high mountains. Stage four on Thursday is considered the Queen stage of the race, as it will see the riders take on two Hors Catégorie climbs on their way from Kufstein to Sölden, with the highest mountaintop finish of this season atop the 2,670m high 'Rettenbachferner'. The general classification favourites all are within reach of the leader's jersey, except T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov, who's already more than 12 minutes down.
Jan Ullrich, who was suffering from a light cold at the start of the Deutschland Tour, has recovered from his illness and is happy about the change of weather - while the first days were rainy and cool, today's stage finish in Kufstein finally saw some sunrays. "I'm really relieved that the weather finally improved - that gives my morale an extra boost," Ullrich said after the stage. "For tomorrow, I hope that I'll have really good legs and am able to ride up front."