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Thomas takes a narrow 4-second win over Barta in the Bayern Rundfahrt time trial to move into the oveall lead ahead of previous leader Frank 

Photo: Sirotti








31.05.2014 @ 18:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard
Geraint Thomas (Sky) put himself in the best possible position to repeat his 2011 victory in the Bayern Rundfahrt when he took a narrow win in today's time trial to move himself into the race lead. The Welshman beat Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) by  4 seconds and now leads previous leader Mathias Frank (IAM) by 19 seconds.
Three years ago Geraint Thomas took his only big win in a stage race when he won the Bayern Rundfahrt overall. This year he now finds himself on the verge of repeating that feat after he won today's time trial and moved into the race lead.
Thomas had already laid the foundations for a good overall result by finishing fifth in the queen stage to days ago and had shown attentive riding in yesterday's sprint stage when he had picked up 2 important bonus seconds. Today he set out with the mission of overcoming his 14-second deficit to race leader Mathias Frank but things turned out much better than expected.
As the fourth last rider down the ramp, Thomas realized that he could actually take it all when he set the best time at the intermediate check. With a boosted morale, he maintained his speed all the way to the finish to narrowly beat provisional leader Jan Barta by 4 seconds. Former U23 world champion Anton Vorbyev (Katusha) did a ride to finish 3rd, 1 second further adrift.
It ended as a very good day for Team Sky as teammate Vasil Kiryienka finished fourth and as previous leader Frank could only manage 6th, the pair moved into 1st and 3rd on GC, with Frank in between the two Sky riders. Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) fought valiantly to maintain his podium spot but dropped to fourth after having finished 10th in the stage.
The stage was held on a 25.5km course in Wassertrüdingen and despite a few small climbs, it was mostly a flat affair, suiting the specialists. Lasse Norman (Garmin) was the first rider to cross the line in a time of 32.51 but he was quickly beaten by Carl Soballa (Brandenburg).
Jens Mouris (Orica-GreenEDGE) was the next rider to take the lead but Kristof Vandewalle (Trek) shaved another 30 seconds of the best time just moments later. However, the Belgian champion didn't enjoy his spell in the hot seat for long as Vorobyev went 21 seconds faster.
As always, Fabian Cancellara (Trek) is not in his best condition at this time of the year and so he could only manage a provisional fifth. Meanwhile, Vorboyev had got a scare as Barta had beaten him at the split time.
It ended up as a close battle but Barta crossed the line in a time that was one second faster than Vorobyev's, moving him to the top spot of the leader board. All riders were now on the course and he only had to wait for mainly the Sky riders to finish their rides.
Kiryienka was faster than Barta at the intermediate check but Thomas soon went 8 seconds faster than his teammate. Both, however, lost time in the final section and when Kiryienka crossed the line, he was only third.
Thomas just managed to hold onto his lead in the final section, crossing the with a time that was 4 seconds faster than Barta's, and now just had to wait for Frank to finish his ride. The Swiss did a good ride but it wasn't enough and he had to settle for sixth and dropped to second in the overall standings.
Thomas now heads into tomorrow's final stage with a 19-second advantage. The 159.6km has a few climbs in the beginning but ends with several laps on a flat circuit in Nürnberg, meaning that only disaster can deny him the overall win.



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