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The Queen of Denmark has been more or less unemployed the past week while Ivan Basso has been acting as the nation's new ruler. On Sunday, the coronation finally took place in Copenhagen after the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Denmark, writes Susanne Horsdal.
Right from the beginning of the race, Basso took charge and ended it with an incredible four stage wins, as well as wearing the leader's jersey throughout the race. Despite coming to Denmark motivated to show himself, this huge success even surprised the Italian.
"Before the race I had expected to win one, maybe two stages, but certainly not four, and of course this is an important win," said an as usual humble Basso.
His leader's total dominance also took CSC team manager Bjarne Riis by surprise. "What he has achieved is way beyond my expectations, but it gives a fantastic perspective with regard to the future. Here, he has shown that devil-may-care attitude that we've been trying to teach him," said Riis. "From a technical point of view he's been riding in the rain and crosswinds. He has proven himself capable of taking responsibility and has gained experience by wearing the yellow jersey and having to defend it, and that's important for the future."
Showing his huge capacity by riding aggressively as well as being his usual pleasant self, Basso has also applied for - and been granted - a permanent residence permit in the hearts of the Danes, or, as a race announcer put it, "Basso is the best thing Denmark has had from Italy since the pizza."
The final stage victory in Copenhagen went to young German sprinter Andre Greipel, who became one of only two riders able to break Basso's stranglehold by beating Tomas Vaitkus and Paride Grillo in the bunch sprint that concluded the event.
"This is my first win as a professional and obviously the most important in my career so far," said a happy Greipel, who cleverly chose to take the wheel of Ag2r's Vaitkus when the sprint was launched. Hundred metres later he raised his arms in jubilation. "Call it instinct," said the German when asked why he had taken the wheel of the Lithuanian.
With this victory the 23-year-old new pro hopes to become one of the Wiesenhof riders selected for the Tour of Germany later this month and also feels confident that the team will manage to find a sponsor to replace Wiesenhof, who pulling out after this season.
Stage 6, Slagelse-Frederiksberg
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Wiesenhof 165km in 3.35.37
2 Tomas Vaitkus (Lit) Ag2r
3 Paride Grillo (Ita) Panaria
4 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria
5 Marcin Lewandowski (Pol) Intel
6 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) CSC
7 Jens Erik Madsen (Den) Glud & Marstrand 0.03
8 Roy Sentjiens (Hol) Rabobank
9 Sergei Lagutin (Uzb) Landbouwkrediet
10 Martin Pedersen (Den) GLS
Final overall standings
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 19.58.37
2 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) CSC 2.21
3 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Rabobank 2.51
4 Tomas Vaitkus (Lit) Ag2r 2.55
5 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile 3.07
6 Sergei Lagutin (Uzb) Landbouwkrediet 3.41
7 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank 3.50
8 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Rabobank 3.56
9 Roy Sentjiens (Hol) Rabobank 3.58
10 Andre Greipel (Ger) Wiesenhof 4.05
39 Steve Cummings (GB) Landbouwkrediet 10.49
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