Canyon//SRAM’s Elena Cecchini was crowned the overall winner of Thüringen Rundfahrt today after a wet race on stage seven was won my Coryn Rivera (United Health Care) when a breakaway was allowed to make it to the finish line.
Cecchini moved in to the lead after stage six of the one week race, after she and Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) broke away on the hilliest stage of the race – a 130km slog in Schleiz. Spratt took the win, but just two seconds behind her Canyon//SRAM breakaway companion finished 4 minutes 39 seconds ahead of third place rider Annemiek Van Vleuten (Orica-AIS).
Before Cecchini took over, Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans) had worn the GC leader’s jersey for three days after finishing 25 seconds ahead of her nearest rival Van Vleuten over the 19km stage four individual time trial. It was Vos that won the stage five bunch sprint in Greiz, but Van Dijk was just 11 seconds behind so held on to yellow until the Italian claimed the honour after stage six.
Stage seven was a 128km circuit race in Gera. The winning break contained winner Rivera, Moniek Tenniglo (Rabo Liv), Amy Pieters (Wiggle High5), Tatiana Guderzo (Italy), Nicole Hanselmann (Cervelo Bigla) and Rachel Neylan (Orica-AIS). The group quickly gained two minutes on the field. Since no GC contenders were present, Canyon//SRAM didn’t let the move panic them. With the final calculations made, Cecchini led the GC 2 minutes 58 seconds ahead of second place GC rider Spratt with Van Dijk third.
For the three time National Italian road champion, this is the biggest win of her career – and she said: "I was a bit nervous which is normal. But on the other hand I knew that I could count on some amazing and strong teammates during this last stage today. Ronny (Lauke) told us our strength today was to stick together, because no one in the peloton could beat the four of us if we put our energies together!"
She added, thanking her team mates: "The team worked amazing all week, also when Alexis (Ryan) and Barbara (Guarischi) were here and we deserve this big one. We stayed together almost all of the race and they all did something special and unbelievable. This win means a lot for me and for the team. All of our hard work and team spirit has finally paid off. It's dedicated to my team mates, but also to our staff who work perfectly day and night to make our cycling life a better one."
Cecchini will now take some well deserved recovery before heading to Rio Olympics for the Italian road cycling team.
Having won three rounds, Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) won the Points jersey and Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) went home with the QOM jersey. Liane Lippert (German National Team) was Best Young Rider) and Lisa Brennauer (Canyon//SRAM) the Best German.