Linus Gerdemann is back, winning the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico today in Rosignano Solvay, Italy, after crashing out with a broken leg two years ago and a dismal season last year.
Germany's Gerdemann won the 148-kilometre stage from Livorno in a sprint after escaping in a four-man group over the final kilometres. Rain, light snow and high winds marked the stage, similar to conditions Gerdemann found when he won the Vuelta Mallorca stage one month ago.
"I am not happy if it is raining and cold, but I am going quite well at the moment, even if the weather is bad," Gerdemann said. "In the end, I don't care if it is sunny or rainy, a victory is a victory."
For the victory Gerdemann took advantage of his escape companions, Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) and Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank), who started the sprint early. Though he admitted he is not known for his sprint, he said that his rivals had made a mistake.
The win comes two years after Gerdemann was fighting for the overall victory with Fabian Cancellara. In 2008, he crashed at the end of the time trial stage in Castelfidardo and broke his leg. A disappointing season followed last year, but with his two wins, he seems to be back to the Gerdemann who won the Le Grand-Bornand stage at the 2007 Tour de France and wore the yellow leader's jersey.
It is good timing, too, because Gerdemann is on the market. His team loses Milram as its sponsor at the end of this season.
"It is not sure the sponsor is leaving, but we also don't have a contract next year," he said. "The team, we want to show it makes sense to invest in us so we can continue. I would like to see a German ProTour team again next year."
New British ProTour squad, Sky, put its strength behind Juan Antonio Flecha leading into the final climb at five kilometres to race. Unable to join the other escapees, Sky shifted its effort in favour of Edvald 'Eddy' Boasson Hagen.
"It was too difficult today," Boasson Hagen said, covered in grime, "but the team did a good job."
"Chris [Sutton] closed up the gap with one kilometre to go," said sports director Scott Sunderland. "The other guys [teams] behind did not come through to work.
"We will take it day by day with either Edvald or Chris. You will never have a real sprinters' day here, besides today and the last day. For tomorrow? Edvald."
Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise des Jeux) and then Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) were the best of the sprinters behind the escape of four. Brit Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) finished with another group a few minutes back.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010: Stage one, Livorno-Rosignano Solvay 148km
1. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram 148km in 3-36-15
2. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
3. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
7. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
8. Marco Bandiera (Ita) Katusha
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) ISD-Neri
10. Francesco Ginanni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli all same time.
30. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo
88. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Cervelo at same time
130. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 1-01
157. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 4-59
Overall classification after stage one
1. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Milram
2. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne at 4secs
3. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank at 6secs
4. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Milram at 8secs
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 9secs
6. Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone at 10secs
7. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux
8. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
9. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
10. Marco Bandiera (Ita) Katusha at same time.
Cavendish came home in one of the later groups
Linus Gerdemann celebrates his opening stage win
Cavendish getting better but still 'not that confident'
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010: The Big Preview
Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile
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