By Susan Westemeyer
Linus Gerdemann powered his way to the lead in the Deutschland Tour in a solo, proving that he has fully recovered from the severe injuries he suffered in a crash earlier in the year. The Team Columbia rider won the queen stage and took over the leader's yellow jersey. Behind his was his teammate Thomas Lövkivst and Astana's Janez Brajkovic, second and third both on the stage and in GC.
"After my injury, nobody figured on this," he said. "That was a hard day's work."
Gerdemann won by only 17 seconds, but it should have been more, as he lost time due to an unusual problem in the last few kilometres. His radio earphone fell out and caught in his gear chain. "I lost a lot of time with that. It cost me at least 30 seconds." He considered changing bikes, but realized that would cost him even more time.
Gerdemann thanked his teammates for their help in setting up his win. Columbia led the chase of an escape group, with Tony Martin and Marcel Sieberg doing much of the lead work. After the break was finally caught, Marcus Burghardt went to the front and led the way up the final climb to the mountaintop finish. The group fell apart on the ascent, and when Burghardt fell back, Lövkivst took over.
In the end it was down to the top three, and Gerdemann pulled away with about 10 km to go. He never had a big lead, but it was big enough.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Deutschland Tour's first stage.