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"G is our protected rider for the GC so we'll definitely be riding for him tomorrow. He's in good form at the moment and has just completed an altitude training camp in Tenerife," Rasch says

Photo: Sirotti






29.05.2014 @ 11:25 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This week Geraint Thomas is making his return to competition after his post-classics break and the Welshman is hugely ambitious for the Bayern Rundfahrt. The Sky leader hopes to win the race for the second time in his career and got safely through yesterday's rainy first stage.


Rowe benefitted from some solid team-work during the closing stages as Team Sky helped bring the breakaway back, and was then given the freedom to get in the mix as his team-mates ensured GC hope Geraint Thomas didn’t lose any time.


Rowe gave a good account of himself in a hectic finale, but it was Haussler who took the victory by narrowly outpacing Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R) and Steele von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp).


That result also saw the Australian take control of the yellow jersey with the overall standings mirroring those of the stage.


The rain had poured during the first day of action but that didn’t stop of flurry of early activity which saw Julian Kern (ALM), Dominic Weinstein (Rad-Net Rose Team) and Jan Niklas Droste (Team Heizomat) eventually move clear of the bunch.


When the trio raced up the road, MTN Qhubeka and NetApp Endura did the lion’s share of the pacesetting and the break’s lead rarely stretched over four minutes.


The brisk pace saw Weinstein dropped from break with 27km remaining, but the peloton was back as one in the last 5km after Team Sky, Giant-Shimano and Katusha had stepped up their pursuit on the final lap of the day.


With Thomas well protected, Rowe worked his way into position as the sprint ensued but couldn’t stop Haussler wrapping up his first win since competing in the same race last season.


When caught up with Gabriel Rasch after the stage, he'd enjoyed his first day as a lead Sports Director since retiring as a rider, and was pleased to see everyone come through the stage unscathed.


He said: "It was a good day. The plan had always been to let Luke have a go for the sprint because he does a lot of work for other riders during the season and this was a good chance for him.


"Unfortunately, it got a little bit crazy there at the end because it was a dangerous circuit in the rain. There were a few crashes, and although a few of our riders got caught up behind them, Luke and the rest of the team came through it OK.


"G and Christian rode well to be right up there with Luke, and everybody else got the same time as the crashes occurred in the last 3km."


Thursday's stage is being billed as the toughest of the race as it features a summit finish at the Reit im Winkl Winklmoos-Alm ski resort.


Rasch revealed the team would be throwing all their weight behind Thomas in his bid for overall victory and he believes the Welshman is in good form ahead of a tough day in the saddle.


He added: "G is our protected rider for the GC so we'll definitely be riding for him tomorrow. He's in good form at the moment and has just completed an altitude training camp in Tenerife.


"He hasn't raced since Amstel Gold Race, so he's finding his racing legs again, but he's up for it and we'll do everything we can for him."



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