Road to France: Leopard Trek Cyclist Linus Gerdemann Dazzles at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg
Team Leopard Trek owned its rivals in Luxembourg City.
The Oakley-sponsored team nearly bagged the final stage at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg with Frank Schleck eventually ending up with second. But the glory was ultimately theirs, as Linus Gerdemann would take it home following a bold stage two triumph and the overall victory.
While the jersey would see a change in hands following Linus’ solo win on stage two, it would stay within the team for the duration of the five-day race.
“From the outside, this win might have looked easy,” Linus said in his Oakley performance eyewear. “It wasn’t. It was tough work. The team dedicated themselves to winning, and I can’t thank them enough. We had such a strong team. It was probably the strongest team I’ve had in my whole career. Working together on all five stages made this possible, and I’m so happy it worked out for us.”
The fifth and final day of racing began in Mersch. The 152.1 kilometer course opened with a 30.5 kilometer circuit that included the infamous Côte de Steinsel.
Riders faced three categorized climbs on the next part of the course that took them from Mersch to Luxembourg City via Rollingen, Angelsberg and Larochette before heading back to the center region.
The race concluded with five laps on a local circuit. Each 7.7 kilometer lap included a cobbled climb up from the Grund Valley.
Following the ascent of Côte de Steinsel, three riders escaped from the bunch. The trio would gain a maximum advantage of 3:20 and be brought back to the field inside the second of five laps on the finishing circuit.
“The circuit was tricky. It was up and down the entire time,” explained Linus. “The climb before the finish line was tough, and it made for a nervous finale.”
Cancellara, Jens Voigt and Jakob Fuglsang set a blistering pace on the front of the field to prevent late race attacks, and the pace, along with the cobbled climb, proved to be overwhelming for some.
With three laps remaining, the front group on the circuit had been whittled down to 75 riders. Frank’s attack came following the final climb on the final lap.
“If Frank had won the stage, it would have been even better, but I think we’re all happy and relieved to have won the race,” said Gerdemann. “Everyone feels super motivated as we look forward to the next race. The most important part of the season begins now.”
Watch for Leopard Trek as they charge into France for the Tour!