By Agence France Presse
Gerolsteiner’s Stefan Schumacher surprised a few observers when he won the stage-four time trial in this year’s Tour de France. Then, he stunned them on Saturday by winning the Tour’s second race against the clock, beating two-time world champion Fabian Cancellara (CSc-Saxo Bank) by 21 seconds on the 53km course.
“I did a perfect race,” said the 27-year-old German. “The course was a little bit rolling, which is perfectly suited to me. I got into a good rhythm straight away. There was a tailwind at the start, and afterwards I just kept my head down and focused on the job.”
Schumacher’s second stage win this year caps a relatively superb campaign for his Gerolsteiner team, which is on the lookout for a new sponsor as the German bottled water company will pull out at the end of the year.
Teammate Bernhard Kohl secured the polka-dot jersey for the King of the Mountains competition on the final day in the Alps, and surprised everyone by finishing inside the top 10 in the time trial, at 2:21 behind Schumacher.
Schumacher admitted: “It’s been an incredible Tour for us. We pulled together and we’ve surpassed expectations, especially Bernhard.”
Now Schumacher faces another big test — going for the gold in the Olympic time trial in Beijing, where he is likely to come up against a more determined Cancellara.