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Sprinting to a win

By:
Hedwig Kröner, with assistance of Susan Westemeyer
Published:
September 11, 2006, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:38 BST
Edition:
Latest Cycling News for September 11, 2006
The wind up:

The wind up:

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What's it like to take a sprint victory in the Vuelta a España? German Robert Förster knows, as he...

What's it like to take a sprint victory in the Vuelta a España? German Robert Förster knows, as he was victorious in Sunday's bunch sprint in Almussafes - saving Gerolsteiner's race appearance in Spain - and described how it went down: With eight kilometres to go, his teammates Heinrich Haussler and René Haselbacher took him onto their wheels, leading him and keeping him out of the wind. "With 2 km to go, Haussler fell back and Hasi wanted to go to the front, but I kept calling him: 'Not yet, Hasi! Take it easy, it's too early, it's too early,'" Förster wrote in his daily Vuelta diary on Radsportnews.com.

"At 1200 meters he couldn't wait any longer and I stopped to hold him back. Okay, let's go for it, I thought. He brought me into position behind Napolitano. A good wheel to be on: Napolitano and one of his helpers and Petacchi in front of me. Milram comes with four men. At 700 meters I had the feeling we were slowing down and I was worried that riders would come left and right and pass us. But that kind of feeling can be misleading.

"Napolitano waited and waited," he continued. "Suddenly Petacchi makes a scene, pushes Napolitano, although there was lots of space. 'What are they doing there?' I thought. I look forward again - hey, the race is almost over... Finally Napolitano goes for it, and I pass him. 25 meters and I'm in front. 10 meters, 5 meters, I'm still in front. 'No one else is going to come round now,' I think, and raise my arms. It all went through my head like a movie."

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