Linus Gerdemann won the first stage of the Tirreno – Adriatico after a late break of four succeeded in holding off the peleton until the line. The frantic finish came together in the last meters but it was still enough for Gerdemann to hold on for victory. Bellissimo!
A terrible storm made for brutal conditions as the riders faced freezing rain and punishing winds through the first stage which looked as if it may even be canceled. However, the first stage got underway and there was plenty of suffering in the peleton. With some 40km remaining, a crash caused a big split in the group and made for some lost times and frantic surges to re-join the front group. The final climb, to be run twice, fractured the hopes of sprint favorite Mark Cavendish as he seemed to be going backwards down the climb and he struggled to remain in contact with 25km remaining. With 10km remaining it was first Tom Boonen who was now desperately clawing his way back into things as the second running of the climb was dashing his hopes as well. Then Cavendish came over, and ultimately gave up his pursuit as he could not perform better the second run around than the first.
Just as Boonen regained the lead group an attack was luached by Juan Antonio Flecha which didn’t stick, but it was countered by a group of four who blasted to a 10 second lead in the closing kilometers. The small group of Paolini, Breschel, Lastras and Gerdemann staved off a huge surge by Liquigas and Gerdemann sprinted away for the win.
Stage 1 Results
1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 3:36:15
2 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
3 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank
4 Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise Des Jeux
General classification after stage 1
1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram ________3:36:15
2 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne__0:00:06
3 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank_______0:00:08
4 Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone__________0:00:12
5 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise Des Jeux__st