Bayern-Rundfahrt, Stage 4 - Individual Time Trial, Feuchtwangen
Since the „Deutschland Tour“ was given up in 2009, the „Tour of Bavaria“ has taken-over the spot as the most important stage-race held in Germany. The 5-stage race is not part of the UCI WorldTour calendar, but has nonetheless gained big popularity in the pro-peloton. Many riders are full of praises about the excellent infrastructure and the overall organization, Christian Knees (Team Sky / GER) posted online „the unanimous mood of the peloton: everything is great!“ Another indicator how important this race is: last years Tour de France hero Thomas Voeckler (Europcar / FRA) came back again this year to get ready for the „Grande Boucle“. The scheduling of the race at the end of May is just perfect for riders training for the Tour de France.
Maybe the most talked-about athlete this year was Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack / SUI), who broke his collarbone at the Tour of Flanders earlier this year, and was now trying to get back on track. But this years edition, the 33rd, saw many more world famous athletes from all over the world, notable international riders were: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre / ITA), Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Barracuda / BEL), David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda / GBR), Stuart O‘Grady (GreenEdge / AUS) and Michael Rogers (Sky / AUS) just to name a few.
I was only able to catch the race on Saturday for the Time-Trial held in a small town in the Northwest of Bavaria. The stage was a technically challenging 26 kilometer-course including some cobblestone sections. I was expecting a great race with so many TT-specialists there. On top of this the weather was downright gorgeous - it was so sunny, I got a pretty bad sunburn on my forehead after I had been outside for hours taking photos.
Michael Rogers, former Time-Trial World Champion from Australia took the stage on Saturday and would eventually take the overall win on Sunday. I am sure Team Sky officials were pumped to win the „Tour of Bavaria“ for the second year in a row (Geraint Thomas won in 2011). And not only did they win, they more or less dominated the GC with 3 more riders in the Top-10. Good job Team Sky!
For more photos head over to flickr or use the slideshow below.