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By Erhard Goller Olympic gold medalist Sabine Spitz took the win at German Bundesliga finals last...
By Erhard Goller
Olympic gold medalist Sabine Spitz took the win at German Bundesliga finals last weekend. At Bad Salzdetfurth, Spitz finished ahead of Elisabeth Osl and Anja Gradl, while Sabrina Enaux was celebrated as overall series winner.
The men's race was dominated by Moritz Milatz. The rest of the bunch was controlled by his Multivan- Merida teammate Jose Antonio Hermida in second and third place went to Wolfram Kurschat. With his victory Milatz grabbed the overall title ahead of last year's series champion Kurschat and Klaus Nielsen.
Spitz arrived late Saturday evening after winning St. Wendel marathon (106 km) the previous day. So it was no surprise that the Olympic champion in the first of five laps suffered just hanging on the wheel of Osl. But with the beginning of the second lap, Spitz looked better, and in lap three, she escaped off the front alone.
"I wondered if I could do that well. The first lap was hard for me, and I was happy when the legs went better and better," said Spitz.
Osl was satisfied with second place, the same as in 2007, and also happy to follow Spitz for a while. "She is one of my idols, and I can see a lot to learn when I'm on her wheel," said the Austrian Osl.
With 22 year-old Anja Gradl, who stayed with Osl and Spitz in the beginning, the third place on the podium was also occupied by a Ghost rider. Gradl is member of Spitz's own team Central-Ghost. "I'm happy to make the Bundesliga podium for the first time. I lost most of the time in the downhill parts," Gradl explained.
Enaux was able to keep her lead in the overall by finishing on fifth position. "It was my last race this season and my legs were bad. But I'm now happy to get the overall in Germany as well as I got the overall in French Cup before. The Bundesliga races are highly competitive, and they are organized very well."
Her performances should help her going into 2009. "I'm still searching for a new team because Lapierre is adopting a new structure," Enaux said.
In men's race, a large crowd saw a Multivan-Merida show. It was a strange situation to see Moritz Milatz alone in the lead after just three kilometers. After the start the course led the riders into an uphill, shortly followed by another climb. Some riders, like Milatz set a high pace, but no one could follow the German who had gained 30m by the top.
"I thought, 'Okay I won't wait,'" said Milatz, who from that point on, rode solo to his second Bundesliga win this year - also the second of his career.
The chasing group was controlled by Milatz's teammate Jose Hermida. The Spaniard was laughing after crossing the finish line. "I think my attendance in the group made them calmer," he said with a smile. Hermida had an easy day and even a short technical problem didn't put him in trouble. He closed the 15 second gap quickly and was able to beat Kurschat and Fabian Giger by doing the last lap as the fastest lap of the whole race.
"Congratulation to Moritz, he was strong today," said Hermida. "I felt pretty good, and I could enjoy the race in this super atmosphere. This was my last race for this season. Now I will go for holidays with my family."
Milatz, who confirmed his sixth place at World Cup finals in Schladming last weekend, exulted about his race and about his first overall series Bundesliga win. "Today it was perfect, I never had to go over my limit and when I realized that Jose is in the chasing group, I knew that I could win. It's a really nice gift to the end of the season."
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Bundesliga finals.