Leipheimer bags his biggest; Bennati bounces to third stage win
The final day of the Tour de France is traditionally a procession into Paris and the Tour of Germany unofficially adopted a similar mode yesterday as Gerolsteiner and Lampre-Caffita controlled the race to protect leader Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) and set up Daniele Bennati (Lampre - Caffita) for a third stage victory and the points title.
The finale unfolded to Lampre's specification, as Bennati beat Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux) and Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) to the line. Leipheimer rolled across the line with the main bunch, his 31-second margin over Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) safe.
Despite the weather conditions, which have covered the full range between bad and atrocious, Leipheimer has enjoyed his time in the leader jersey and what he described in his diary as, "the biggest win of my career."
"It's been some epic racing," Leipheimer wrote. "At one point I was wearing three rain jackets at once on top of other layers of clothing. We've had our share of cold and rain here at the tour of Germany, but the cool thing is that the Germans still come out in full force to cheer us on, rain or shine."
He repeated the sentiment after yesterday's overall victory. "It's great to win here," the 31-year old said. "The race has matured, and it's one of the best races in the world now. It's very well organised, the roads are safe, and the spectators are incredible - for example, the Tour of Spain never has that many crowds. It's truly a great race."