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German National Championships - CN
Freiburg, Germany, June 26-27, 2004
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Day 2 - June 27: Elite Men's Road Race, 210 km
German title to Klöden
Andreas Klöden has continued T-Mobile's complete dominance of the German Championships (the team has won each year since 1993) by taking the title in Freiburg today. After a very selective race, Klöden attacked on the last of 10 climbs to open up a gap of a minute to the small chase group, which contained his teammates Jan Ullrich and Matthias Kessler, who were marking all the moves from the other riders to chase. Second place went to Stefan Schumacher (Lamonta) followed by Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), who looks in impressive shape for the Tour.
How it unfolded
The elite men's race consisted of 10 laps of the 21 km circuit around Freiburg, with the tough climb through Ebringen just before the halfway point of each lap. The weather was good at the start - 25 degrees, overcast, with not too much wind, although later in the day it rained off and on.
120 riders took the start in Freiburg and straight away the tempo was driven up to a high pace. Gerolsteiner controlled the peloton on the first climb and already 17 riders were unable to keep the pace. The field remained together until just before the second climb, when Roberto Lochowski (Wiesenhof), Stephan Schreck (T-Mobile), Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), David Kopp (Lamonta), Marco Düchting (Winfix) and Stefan Meyer (Wanderlust Ebnet) attacked, but by the top of the climb only Schreck, Ziegler and Kopp remained, holding a one minute lead over the bunch.
The three leaders worked to establish their gap and built it up to 3'40 on lap 4, with ComNet-Senges, Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile riding a controlling tempo behind. But on the climb on the fourth lap, the peloton exploded to leave just 50 riders chasing Schreck, Ziegler and Kopp at 2'15. But the tempo didn't continue and more riders were able to make it back on in the next lap.
The scenario was repeated on the fifth climb, with the pace being driven hard to split the field again to leave 40 riders. But there was no easing off this time and by the end of the lap (halfway), the main field was just 1'27 behind the three leaders. On lap 6, the trio gave up just before the climb and the race began anew, with T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner battling to get as many riders as possible in the front group.
At the top of the climb, there were 19 riders left chasing T-Mobile's Christian Werner: Ullrich, Klöden, Aldag, Hiekmann, Kessler and Zabel (all T-Mobile), Wegmann, Hondo, Fothen, Lang and Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Heppner (Wiesenhof), Sinkewitz (Quick.Step), Voigt (CSC), Retschke (Comnet) and Glasner, Magyarosi and Schumacher (Lamonta). With four laps to go, these riders were caught by a chase group of 23, but the peloton did not remain compact for long.
11 riders got clear on the seventh lap before the climb: Hiekmann, Kessler, Werner (T-Mobile), Lang, Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Ralf Grabsch and Heppner (Wiesenhof), Bert Grabsch (Phonak), Magyarosi and Schumacher and Matthias Russ (Die Hofbräu Radler). They were pursued and caught by Klöden and Ullrich (T-Mobile), Scholz (Gerolsteiner) and Sinkewitz (Quick.Step). Another group with defending champion Zabel and Hondo was trying to make contact, but couldn't close the 45 second gap.
On the eighth lap, the leading 15 reduced in size as Kessler had a mechanical problem and several others were dropped. But Rolf Aldag (T-Mobile) had managed to attack the chase group and was chasing with Ralf Grabsch (Wiesenhof) to try and make contact with the front, and he succeeded by the end of the lap. That meant that there were six T-Mobiles versus three Gerolsteiners, and the race could only go one way.
Aldag helped make the tempo on the penultimate lap as the lead group again diminished and the climb took its toll. At the start of the last lap, it was Klöden, Ullrich, Aldag, Hiekmann and Kessler (T-Mobile Team), Wegmann, Scholz (Gerolsteiner), Heppner (Wiesenhof), Sinkewitz (Quick.Step) and Schumacher (Lamonta) in front, later joined by Bert Grabsch (Phonak). T-Mobile held all the cards and although Jan Ullrich was looking very strong, it was not the plan for him to attack. Instead it was his friend and teammate Andreas Klöden who jumped hard on the last climb and quickly got clear. No-one was prepared - or able - to chase him, and the bronze medallist from the Sydney Olympics gained a minute.
Klöden kept his lead over the last 9 km and was able to thoroughly enjoy the moment as he crossed the line in Freiburg to win the German Championship. In second place was a similarly happy Stefan Schumacher (Lamonta), who led home Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Sinkewitz, Heppner, Kessler, Ullrich, Aldag and Scholz in that order.
Images by Daniel Schamps
Images by Franklin Tello Photography
1 Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile) 5.11.34 2 Stefan Schumacher (Lamonta) 0.59 3 Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) 4 Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick.Step-Davitamon) 5 Jens Heppner (Wiesenhof) 6 Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile) 7 Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) 8 Rolf Adlag (T-Mobile) 1.08 9 Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) 1.10 10 Bert Grabsch (Phonak) 2.56 11 Torsten Hiekmann (T-Mobile Team) 5.50 12 Ralf Grabsch (Team Wiesenhof) 5.54 13 Christian Werner (T-Mobile Team) 14 Matthias Russ (Die Hofbräu Radler) 15 Peter Magyarosi (Team Lamonta) 7.46 16 Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner) 7.56 17 Erik Zabel (T-Mobile Team) 18 Robert Retschke (Team ComNet-Senges) 19 Björn Glasner (Team Lamonta) 20 Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) 8.00 (Only 20 riders finished)