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Niermann and the Hannover ranking

Grischa Niermann (Rabobank)

Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner)

Grischa Niermann of Team Rabobank was hoping to do well in the final stage of the Deutschland Tour, because it was on his home turf. He was born in Hannover, and the race course ran over his usual training route.

He took his chance and attacked, getting away with three other riders. They were never able to get more than 2'45" ahead of the peloton, though, and were absorbed back into the field with 8 kilometres to go.

But there was also an important "race within the race." Three Hannoverian riders and training partners -- Niermann, Thomas Ziegler of T-Mobile and Christian Leben of Team Wiesenhof -- had made a small bet as to which of them would finish highest in the race, Niermann noted on his website, grischa-niermann.de.

Going into the final stage, he was so far in front that the other two had no chance. That is, until "Jury member" Roman Jordens of Team Heinz von Helden, another training partner who was not in the race, changed the bet conditions at the last second. The winner of the "Hannover ranking" would no longer be the highest in GC, but the first of the trio to cross the line at the intermediate sprint only one kilometre before the finish line, on the next-to-last lap of the round course.

"Since I knew I wouldn't have the least chance against Thomas in a sprint, there wasn't really anything left for me to do but to attack. So if you saw me on TV and wondered why I celebrated so much when we passed the one-kilometre marker, now you know why."