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Grand Prix du Portugal a roller coaster

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 01, 2008, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:24 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News, April 1, 2008

Portuguese rider Vitor Rodrigues has won the Grand Prix in his home country, 53 seconds ahead of...

Portuguese rider Vitor Rodrigues has won the Grand Prix in his home country, 53 seconds ahead of Frenchman Antony Roux. Before taking the overall classification, Rodrigues had to endure a bit of a roller coaster.

Winning stage 1 in decisive fashion, he had a lead of 1'17. Rodrigues bridged up to the duo of Simon Geschke (Germany) and Jacques Van Rensburg (South Africa). Geschke had attacked at kilometre 83, with Van Rensburg bridging up shortly thereafter. Rodrigues made his move 20 kilometres from the line and won with 1'17 over Luxemburger Ben Gastauer.

On stage two, Roux took over the GC lead, with a second place, 10 seconds behind Estonian Rein Taaramae. With his margin of 1'38 over Rodrigues, Roux had now a three-second lead over the Portuguese rider. Hardly a comfortable gap and sure enough, Rodrigues had recovered for the final stage.

But it was Taaramae again, who took off solo and while his advantage over the Portuguese rider vanished in the end, he kept 11 seconds to win his second stage. The Estonian finished third overall. Roux could not follow the acceleration of Taaramae and Rodrigues 36 kilometres from the line. Taaramae then attacked Rodrigues and got a maximum advantage of 48 seconds over the home-country rider. Eventually, Rodrigues closed the gap down to 11 seconds.

The last day was a hilly affair, and it was German Simon Geschke who ended up taking the mountain jersey. He had lots of help from team-mate Michael Franzl, who secured himself 10 points and moved up to eighth in the mountain classification. Franzl, in his first race for the German national team in 2008, secured a 23rd spot in the overall, while Geschke was in sixth, 2'52 down.

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