By VeloNews Interactive and wire services
Spain’s Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears) won the 186km sixth stage of the Tour of Germany on Saturday while Germany’s Patrik Sinkewitz (Quick Step-Davitamon) courageously defended his overall lead in this difficult stage from Kulmbach to Oberwiesenthal.
Mancebo was the strongest on the final 6km climb toward the Fichtelberg summit at 1214 meters, crossing in 4:54:49, beating German Jens Voigt (CSC), second overall, and race leader Sinkewitz.
The 1997 Tour de France winner, Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile), finished 37 seconds back in 12th spot and dropped from third to seventh overall.
The 23-year-old Sinkewitz said he was confident of winning the tour on Sunday following the 173km seventh and final stage from Chemnitz to Leipzig.
“With this team, if I can just stay on the wheels of my teammates, it should be all right,” said Sinkewitz, who was not considered among the favorites when this race began. “It’s huge to have such a team supporting me and to have such great riders who sacrificed themselves for me.”
His team members include Italy’s Paolo Bettini and Belgium’s Tom Boonen.
1. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, 186km in 4:52:49
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, same time
3. Patrik Sinkewitz (G), Quick Step-Davitamon, s.t.
4. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Domina Vacanze, at 0:04
5. Andreas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, s.t.
6. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 0:06
7. Denis Mentchov (Rus), Illes Balears, at 0:09
8. Pieter Weening (Ned), Rabobank, s.t.
9. Jan Hruska (Cze), Liberty Seguros, s.t.
10. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Sp), Illes Balears, at 0:31
1. Patrik Sinkewitz (G) Quick Step-Davitamon, 22:23:35
2. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:18
3. Jan Hruska (Cze), Liberty Seguros, at 0:23
4. Igor Gonzales de Galdeano (Sp), Liberty Seguros, at 0:28
5. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, at 0:54
6. Andreas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, at 0:57
7. Jan Ullrich (G), T-Mobile, at 0:59
8. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Sp), Illes Balears, at 1:47
9. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, at 2:12
10. Sergio Marinangeli (I), Domina Vacanze, at 2:18
Pereiro grabs Classique win
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) proved fastest of an eight-man group at the finish of the 165km Classique des Alpes from Chambery to Aix-Les Bains on Saturday.
The Spaniard crossed just ahead of Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) and Jose-Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak).
Meanwhile, Christophe Rinero (RAGT) was taken to hospital after taking a heavy fall on the descent from the Granier summit. According to the Chambery hospital, the French rider temporarily lost consciousness and had suffered a head injury as well as multiple cuts and bruises.
1. Oscar Pereiro (Sp), Phonak, 4:32:23
2. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel
3. Jose-Enrique Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak
4. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC
5. Thomas Voeckler (F), Brioches La Boulangere
6. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), Phonak
7. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel
8. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Credít Agricole, all same time
9. Paolo Valoti (I), Domina Vacanze, 1:07
10. Cyril Dessel (F), Phonak, same time
Cipo’ says he’ll race Le Tour
Italian cycling great Mario Cipollini confirmed on Saturday that he would take part in the Tour de France, despite being out of form.
The 37-year-old Cipollini said he hoped his Domina Vacanze team would get him through the tougher stages of the race that runs from July 3 to July 25.
“I will compete at the Tour, even if I am not in peak condition,” said the rider known affectionately as The Lion King for his flowing mane of blond curly hair. “I hope that my team will support me,” he added.
The 2002 world road race champion had a miserable Giro d’Italia, abandoning at the start of the seventh stage, having fallen in the previous one; the mishap required 14 stitiches in his right leg and left elbow. It was the first time he had failed to take a stage in the race since 1989.
Cunego wins Pantani memorial
Tour of Italy victor Damiano Cunego (Saeco) won the inaugural Marco Pantani memorial, a 60km race honoring the Italian cycling great who died of a cocaine overdose in February.
The 60km event staged in Pantani’s home town of Cesenatico, was settled with a sprint finish in which the man tipped to take over Pantani’s mantle in Italy beat compatriot Franco Pellizzotti (Alessio-Bianchi).
Tonina Pantani was on hand to watch the race dedicated to her late son, but shortly after the start she suffered heat stroke and had to be accompanied to her home close by.
All the competitors paid their respects to the 1998 Tour de France champion by visiting Pantani’s grave in the local churchyard.