Mainfranken to Ukraine again

For the second year running a rider from the Ukrainian National Team won the Mainfranken Tour, a 2.2...

For the second year running a rider from the Ukrainian National Team won the Mainfranken Tour, a 2.2 race on the UCI calendar. Mykhaylo Kononenko was six seconds ahead over the winner of the last stage, Philipp Ries. Kononenko managed to win the overall without taking a stage, but was in the crucial break in stage one with German Roger Kluge, where the two cleared the line some 20 seconds ahead of the peloton.

Kluge then missed the decisive 30-rider break in stage two and lost over a minute and a half. Kononenko was safely tucked away in the peloton to finish the final stage with the rewards of the overall victory.

The overall winner acknowledged that "This was a very difficult stage race, especially today's third stage was very tough. Our team was very good, but with the Thüringer Energie Team, we had a very strong competitor."

Kononenko is the successor of his team-mate Anatoliy Kashtan, who took the honours in 2007. Kashtan was crucial in the defence of the title, helping to control the peloton in the final stage. Even though they couldn't prevent the 18 year-old Ries from taking the day's victory, the time bonus was not enough to force a change in the overall. Kononenko had a 20-second lead and saved six of those in the end.

Ries, who was consoled with the win in the young rider classification, added a ten-second time bonus to his small two-second gap over the peloton. "I couldn't imagine such a result," the stage winner was overcome with joy. "I wasn't the strongest today, but maybe the cleverest. The slightly uphill finishing straight was to my advantage. On a flat or downhill section I would have had no chance against riders like Marcel Barth or Roger Kluge."

Barth won the sprinters' jersey. He had taken out the win on Saturday. Ries's team-mate Felix Andris took the polka-dot jersey of best climber.

(Editorial assistance and research provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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