By Brecht Decaluwé in Le Grand Bornand, France
The 24 year-old German rider, Linus Gerdemann (T-Mobile), put on a stellar performance in the mountains on Saturday in Stage 7 of the Tour de France; exactly one day before the tenth anniversary of compatriot Jan Ullrich's stunning performance up to Arcalis in stage 10 of the 1997 Tour. Gerdemann won the stage to Le Grand Bornand after boldly attacking his remaining breakaway partners with the last man to succomb to the vicious teutonic attack being Dmitriy Fofonov (Crédit Agricole), some five kilometres from the summit.
Gerdemann pulled off a rare trifecta yesterday: a stage win (in the mountains), plus taking over the white jersey for best rider under 25, and of course, the yellow jersey.
There are many positive parallels between Gerdemann and the Jan Ullrich of ten years ago. They both won their first stage in the Tour at a tender age (Gerdemann is 24, Ullrich was 23), they earned the overall lead with their coup and they obviously took over the young rider's classification. However, neither one got to wear the white jersey. Ullrich couldn't because the maillot blanc had taken a hiatus at the time and was only brought back in 2000. And Gerdemann will for now wear yellow; the preferred colour for any Tour de France rider.
The white jersey may still be an objective later on, as he faces a real battle to wear yellow all the way to Paris, but although he has shown the ability to get through the mountains unscathed, even his young rider's classification ambition may fall victim to his designated workhorse role for team leader Michael Rogers.
Read the entire Linus Gerdemann feature here.