MINOR RIDERS DOMINATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lesser-known riders dominated the national championship road races across Europe on Sunday as many of the big names preferred to take things easy as they got ready for the Tour de France.
Only recent Dauphine Libere winner Christophe Moreau (Ag2r) and adopted Welshman Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas) stand out in the long list of winners. The 36 year-old veteran won the French title in Aurillac by attacking alone 40km from the finish. He held off the chasers to win his first red, white and blue jersey ahead of Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom) and Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole).
Backstedt finally put his shoulder injury problems behind him by winning the Swedish road race title, while Discovery Channel’s Stijn Devolder won the Belgian title with a similar late attack. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) won the sprint for second, with Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) third.
In Italy 24 year-old Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) pulled on the tricolore jersey after a late move with Davide Rebellin, Paolo Bossoni (Lampre) and Cristian Murro (Tenax). On the slight uphill finish in the centre of Genoa Visconti jumped first and was clearly the strongest, taking his take his first major win after spending six months under Paolo Bettini’s wing.
In Spain Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d’Epargne) pulled on the red and yellow jersey thanks to a solo attack. Team leader Alejandro Valverde finished second, with Eladio Sánchez (Karpin-Galicia) third. Gerolsteiner’s Fabian Wegmann won the German title, beating Patrick Sinkewitz (T-Mobile) and Christian Knees (Milram), while Koos Mourenhout (Rabobank) won the Dutch title with a solo attack. Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) won the Swiss national in Brugg, beating Fabian Cancellara (CSC) and David Loosli (Lampre). 24 year-old Alex Rasmussen (Team Odense Energi) won the Danish title.
The British championships were cancelled due to bad weather after floods blocked roads near the course.