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Voigt holds on to win in Poland

German Jens Voigt showed that the third time is the charm by winning the 2008 Tour of Poland. After coming second in 1999 and 2001, Voigt rode himself into the lead on the wintry, hilly stage six, and then held on during the final stage to maintain his 1'22" lead over his teammate Lars Bak. Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) took the sprint on another shortened stage on Sunday ahead of Alberto Curtolo (Liquigas) and Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ).

Just as in the past few days, bad weather forced organisers to shorten the stage, which was slated to begin in Wadowice, but was moved further down the road to Rabka. This shortened the route from 153.6km down to 95.4. The first breakaway of the day was formed by four riders: Kazakh Roman Kirajew (Astana), Frenchman Anthony Charteau (Caisse d?Epargne), Italian Marco Bandiera (Lampre) and as ever one of the Polish riders – this time Lukasz Bodnar (Polska-BGZ). They were soon caught, however, by the very attentive Team CSC riders.

Next to have a go were Daniel Navarro (Astana) and Marlon Perez Arango (Caisse d'Epargne), who were soon joined by Alexandre Kuchynski (Liquigas-Gaspol) and Marek Rutkiewicz (Polska-BGZ). They gained maximum lead of 25 seconds before they also were reeled in by the pack. The third try had more luck. Soon after the mountain preme at Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, which was won by Swiss rider David Loosli of Lampre, another breakaway was formed with Loosli and Rutkiewicz plus Marcel Sieberg (Team Columbia), Alexandre Blain (Cofidis) and Tanel Kangert (AG2R).

They five gained about minute of advantage, while Rutkiewicz took the second mountain premium in Myslenice ahead of Sieberg and Loosli. At the next occasion in Siercza, Rutkiewicz was once again the fastest, this time ahead of Loosli and Kangert. Soon after there was an intermediate sprint in Wieliczka where Loosli was first ahead of Rutkiewicz, both taking important bonus seconds. With this sprint they moved into top-10 of the race.

The leading quintet was finally caught at the entry to city of Kraków. On the city circuit in old Polish capital once again Marcin Sapa showed his aggressive style of racing, but he had no chance to get away. The peloton was riding very fast and broke into several pieces with only some 40 riders remaining in the first group. The lead bunch was led by Liquigas-Gaspol and Lampre riders. The Polska - BGZ men wanted to set up the finish for of their sprinters Krzysztof Jezowski who eventually finished the stage at seventh place.

Like all the others, he had no answer to top-speed of Robert Förster who beat at the line Italian Alberto Curtolo (Liquigas) and Bielorussian Yauheni Hutarovich (Française des Jeux). So as everyone could predict after yesterday's events, the final overall victory went to German Jens Voigt who won the race with a comfortable margin 1:22 on his Danish teammate Lars Ytting Bak and Italian Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas. The best Polish rider Marek Rutkiewicz finished the race at tenth position.


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