Elena Cecchini finished second today in stage five in Greiz at the International Ladies Tour of Thüringen. The stage was won by Marianne Vos (RLT) with Annemiek van Vleuten (OGE) in third. Ellen van Dijk (DLT) holds on to the yellow jersey with two stages in the tour remaining.
Cecchini, the three-time Italian national road champion made a select group of eight riders who would sprint to the finish but admits the stage was very hard. "Before the stage we saw the last 20km and this was helpful. We made a plan for Trixi and Hannah to try something before and create an opportunity before the final part of the race. To be honest I had really bad legs and I wasn't sure that I could stay with the best riders today. It was an exhausting day."
"But when I looked around then everyone was really tired. Trixi and Hannah did an amazing job for me. And in the final there was Lisa so I got that extra motivation and I managed to make the front group in the climbs."
"In the final 5km we were in a group of 20 riders. There was a solo attack by Rachel Neylan (OGE) but I said to Lisa 'don't worry I will close the gap on the downhill so you can go for the sprint.' I had some fun descending full gas! After I caught Neylan I looked back and saw that it was just Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian National Team) and Amanda Spratt (OGE) who were able to stay with me on the descent. Then I waited on their wheels because I knew Lisa would make it back."
"There was a late attack from van Vleuten and I immediately followed her without looking back. I would have seen that Vos was on my wheel. I started my sprint at 150m to go but Vos was just faster. Overall on the climbs I'm feeling good, and I'm going full gas on the uphill and the downhill!"
Lisa Brennauer was also in the front group of eight riders and finished 7th on the stage. Brennauer retains the Best German Jersey going into stage six tomorrow.
The 130km stage around the city of Schleiz starts at 13:30 (CEST) and can be followed on the team's Twitter @WMNcycling.