By Susan Westemeyer, with additional reporting from Monika Prell in Wiesloch
Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas) attacked out of the lead group in the last 13 km and was able to eke out a win in the third stage of the Deutschland Tour. The chasing group came in with the same time, with Rigoberto Uran of Caisse d'Epargne second and Columbia's Thomas Lövkvist third.
"This victory is a great joy," said Bertagnolli. "It is a good redemption after the Saturday's stage in which I accumulated too much delay. I gave up the dreams for the final ranking, I could only think to the journey's successes."
Overall leader Linus Gerdemann also finished in the same time to hold on to his leader's jersey. Bertagnolli's escape companion, Daniel Navarro of Astana, was overtaken only shortly before the finish line and came in sixth.
"What a pity, we tried it really, and we were strong enough to resist the peloton, but in the end I lacked power," Navarro told Cyclingnews. "I am not in my best form, but I will try to better my performance. I will now look for the overall classification.
"We are doing our best," he added. "For me it's the last race, I will change the team [to Astana] and I would like to finish with a good performance to give my career at Euskaltel-Euskadi a good end," said his future team-mate, Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi). "A victory would be nice – I have possibilities. I am also not too bad in the overall classification, and I am already thinking of the last time trial."
Milram's captain Christian Knees must have wanted to make up for his disappointing performance of the last two days, as he took off at kilometre 10 and quickly built up a lead of over a minute. He was eventually joined by Gerolsteiner's Johannes Fröhlinger and the two took off together. Interestingly enough, Team Milram announced during the stage not only that Knees' contract had been extended through 2010, but also that Fröhlinger had signed with the team for the coming year.
For full coverage of Stage 3, click here.
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