Schumacher takes a bitter-sweet victory in Serbia

Final stage crash ends German championships goal

Stefan Schumacher (Christina Watches-Onfone) saw his strong run of form collapse in the final metres of the Tour de Serbie while wearing the leader’s jersey.

His campaign for the overall classification began when he won the third stage. The stage featured three categorised climbs in the final 60km and with two fellow team mates in the leading group, had the chance to attack and ride to the line solo. He had little time to enjoy the victory as Sergei Rudaskov (Itera-Katusha) crossed the line just 16 seconds behind.

The remaining stages were controlled by his team mates and his overall victory seemed assured through to the final stage until a crash in the closing kilometres spoiled his entire race. His crash was inside the final three kilometres and was awarded the same time as the day’s winner, Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo), saving his overall win.

He had planned to race in the upcoming German championships and had focused on the time trial but his participation seems unlikely. The fall involved a number of riders who had crashed in front of him.

"Actually, I wanted to deliberately stay out of all the position battles," he explained on his personal website. "Two riders crashed in front of me and I had no chance to avoid them."

He was rushed to hospital with a suspected fracture and deep cuts to his arm and eye. Schumacher missed the awarding ceremony for the race he had won just hours before his crash. Thankfully his arm was not broken but damage to his tendons and significant bruising will mean the 30-year-old German will have to rest for a number of weeks. His injuries mean the chance of him lining up in the German championships is almost impossible.

"At the moment I cannot imagine I will start," he admitted. "I will try everything in the coming days. It is still my goal and I will do everything possible - especially now that I have the form".

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