Double double for Columbia

While Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish and Gerald Ciolek were busy scoring a one-two finish in the...

While Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish and Gerald Ciolek were busy scoring a one-two finish in the stage eight sprint finish of the Tour de France on Saturday, their team-mates German Bert Grabsch and Norwegian Edvald Boassen Hagen were doing the same by finishing one-two in the individual time trial in the penultimate stage of the Tour of Austria.

In the 26km time trial in Podersdorf, Grabsch finished 43 seconds ahead of his team- mate Boassen Hagen and 45 seconds ahead of Dane Michael Blaudzun (Team CSC - Saxo Bank).

Referring to Mark Cavendish's victory and Gerald Ciolek's second place in the Tour de France stage to Toulouse, Grabsch said, "It was a very special day for Columbia - it's not often a team wins in two races at the same time, even less frequent to get the top two placings in both!"

Time trialling success is not new for either Grabsch and Boassen Hagen; both are their respective reigning national champions in the speciality. Grabsch also won a time trial in the Vuelta a España last year, and Boassen Hagen the time trial in the Criterium International this March.

"It was my kind of course - flat, wide roads and not technical at all," said Grabsch, who rode with a 56x11 gearing and caught three riders en route to victory. "The only problem was the heat - 33 degrees. Normally I have problems with that but I seemed to be able to handle that ok."

Grabsch was not surprised by his win, saying, "after all, I'm national time trial champion and it was a good course for me. It was so short there were no tactics and no time references for me - just going 100 percent from start to finish. My time trial bike, a new one, was also perfect for the job."

Grabsch said the race was good preparation for the Olympic Games which he will be targeting in August. "I'm going to rest for 10 days after this, ride the Tour of Saxony which has a 35 kilometre time trial in it, then I'll be focussed on Beijing."

"It's hilly for sure, but my form is good, and last year in the Worlds at Stuttgart I got fourth, so I know I can do well on tough circuits as well as flatter ones," said Grabsch.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Tour of Austria stage six.

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