Voigt a winner, but unlikely to defend title

"I think, maybe Jens can win the time trial on Saturday, but of course it's a shame he didn't make the decisive break. Now we're hoping for Linus or Nicki to do a good time trial as well, in order for us to still have a shot at the overall victory," said Team CSC's directeur sportif Kim Andersen after the third stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt.

Yesterday in Kulmbach, Germany, Andersen's hopes were realised, as Voigt took out the Stage 4 time trial, beating a class field of riders that included Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner), Alexandre Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) and Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner). Not only that but their young German signing Linus Gerdemann finished seventh, and is now their best-placed rider in third overall.

"Linus continues to impress us and once again demonstrated his vast talent. This is only his second race for Team CSC and he's now third overall and leads the best young rider's classification," Andersen said.

"The organizers had made a mistake with the timing, so at first we thought that the Polish rider Bartosz Huzarski sensationally had won the stage," he added. "But the mistake was soon corrected and Jens got his spot on the podium. Piil also did really well today and is definitely on his way to top form ahead of the Tour."

With only 31 riders making the cut on Stage 3, who all gained at least 18 minutes on the field, Jens Voigt (Team CSC) will require a minor miracle to defending his title from last year, but as well as Gerdemann, the team also has Nicki Sørensen, who is 2'17 behind the race lead of Gerolsteiner's Michael Rich. Kazakhstan rider Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) is in second place, 22 seconds behind Rich.

The Bayern Rundfahrt concludes today with a 174.4 kilometre road stage from Kulmbach to Neumarkt.

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