Haussler triumphs over older rival
21 year-old neo-pro Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) has won a tight battle with Swiss Martin Elmiger (Phonak) and David Latasa (Comunidad Valenciana), with a great final surge to claim the victory in Alcobendas. The three, along with Juan Fuentes (Lampre), were the best of a large and complicated breakaway, which split up in the final 13 km. After Fuentes tried to attack in the final kilometre, Haussler and Elmiger chased him down, with Haussler saving just enough to win the sprint.
In this short transition stage between San Martin de Valdeiglesias and Alcobendas, the attacks started straight away and after 14 km, there were four leaders: Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears), Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Saunier Duval), Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana), and Linus Gerdemann (CSC). They were later joined by Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), while a big group chased behind at 2'00: Koos Moerenhout, Leon Van Bon, Gert Steegmans (Davitamon - Lotto), Jose Miguel Elias Jorge Garcia (Relax), Martin Elmiger (Phonak), Mauro Gerosa (Liquigas), Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis), Javier Pascual Rodriguez and David Latasa (Comunidad Valenciana), Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile), Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner), Juan Manuel Fuentes (Lampre), Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval), José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), Alberto Ongarato and Fabio Baldato (Fassa Bortolo), and Frédéric Finot (Française des Jeux).
With 38 km to go, Gerdemann, Lastras, and Garcia Quesada dropped the rest, who were caught by Steegmans, Elias, Elmiger, Haussler, Fuentes, and Latasa. Garcia Quesada set off solo at 28 km to go, as Lastras refused to work with Gerdemann. But when they were caught by Fuentes, Latasa, Haussler and Elmiger, they were eventually able to close down the gap to the lone leader with 14 km to go. An immediate counter saw Haussler, Elmiger, Latasa and Fuentes form the final break, and of this, Haussler proved to be better than Elmiger in the uphill sprint.
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