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Young German Linus Gerdemann announced his arrival on the pro scene at the Four Days of Dunkirk at the start of last month with a string of attacks throughout the Four Days of Dunkirk that led to him finishing fifth overall. From there he went to the Tour of Bavaria and rode with similar precocious brilliance to finish third overall, and on Friday the 22 year old took another great step forwards when he won his first pro race, the seventh stage of the Tour of Switzerland - a ProTour event, let's not forget.
As with those two previous starring performances, Gerdemann's success in what was, for the leaders at least, a transitional stage was based on pure strength and the confidence to create and then build on an opportunity. Part of a seven-man break that had gone clear early in the stage, Gerdemann attacked with eight kilometres remaining as the peloton threatened to close the break down completely.
"Martin Elmiger looked like he was the strongest of the six other riders in the break, so I launched my attack just as he finished taking a turn at the front. All the time I knew, I had to escape from the group, because there were some really fast guys like Rodriguez, Kroon and Etxebarria," explained Gerdemann after his latest stunning ride that only increased comparisons between him and the young Jan Ullrich - comparisons not played down by CSC team boss Bjarne Riis.
CSC team directeur Kim Andersen is also very impressed with the rider who was recommended to the team by Jens Voigt. "We're talking about a huge talent here. At the press conference after the stage, the journalists were all over him, but so far Linus is able to keep cool, although he's obviously very happy about his great performances," said Andersen.
There was no notable change in the overall standings where Michael Rogers still leads Jan Ullrich by 20 seconds going into this weekend's two key mountain stages. Intriguingly, the pair could well be riding together next season. The Flemish press is reporting that Rogers has signed a big money deal to move to T-Mobile next season and that Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefvre is resigned to losing the Australian.
Stage 7, Einsiedeln-Lenk
1 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team CSC 192.8km in 4.25.00 (43.65kph)
2 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.04
3 David Etxebarria (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.14
4 Karsten Kroon (Hol) Rabobank 0.15
5 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto
6 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak
7 Daniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.23
8 Ren Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
9 Baden Cooke (Aus) Franaise des Jeux
10 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 25.54.03
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.20
3 Bradley McGee (Aus) Franaise des Jeux 0.22
4 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval 1.11
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC 1.27
6 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval 1.31
7 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel 1.38
8 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak 1.39
9 Koldo Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1.42
10 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 1.57
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM