Tour of Flanders winner Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) used his late burst of speed to outfox the sprinters and win the Vattenfall Cyclassics race in Hamburg on Sunday.
The lanky Italian jumped clear of the bunch with six hundred metres to go with the idea of setting up his team mates Daniele Bennati and Danilo Napolitano but when the Rabobank team and the other sprinters failed to catch him close to the line, he accelerated again to hold off sprinters Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Gerard Ciolek (T-mobile).
Ballan won the Tour of Flanders with a strong lone attack but showed another skill to win his second ProTour classic of the season and grab an early place in the Italian team for the world championships.
?I was working for Bennati and Napolitano and so lead out the sprint. Nobody got on my wheel and so I went for it. I didn?t think I?d make it but then kicked again before the line and got them,? Ballan said.
?My finish here and fourth place in San Sebastian shows I?ve come out of the Tour de France pretty well. Now I want to have a good end of season and do a good ride in the world championships in Stuttgart.?
The German one-day race was again decided in a sprint after an early break and then late attacks were all swept up before the city-centre finish. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was expected to contest the sprint but he crashed in the final 20km of racing and retired after hurting his elbow and calf.
MILLAR IN THE ACTION
Wearing his British national champion?s jersey for the first time, David Millar finished just outside the top ten in the hectic sprint. Millar was in the thick of the action over the last climb, going with a good looking attack that also included world champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step), and then kept driving the move even when other riders refused to work with him.
Millar will now stay in northern Europe to ride the Eneco Tour this week. His end of season will also include the Tour of Poland in mid-September before riding the time trial and the road race at the world championships in Stuttgart.
1 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
2 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
3 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) T-Mobile
4 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
5 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
6 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
7 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step Innergetic
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Predictor-Lotto
9 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner