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Germans star at cycling classic
Roger Vaughan
22:17 AEST Sun Jan 20 2013

German sprint ace Andre Greipel won again in Adelaide as compatriot and cycling cult figure Jens Voigt added to his legend on Sunday night.

Greipel finished off a textbook leadout train from his Lotto-Belisol team-mates in the warm-up street race for this week's Tour Down Under.

Voigt and Australian UniSA rider Zak Dempster broke clear on the first of 30 laps and stayed away for two thirds of the 51km race.

Rather than the event finishing with the usual massed high-speed sprint, there were only four riders in contention at the front thanks to Lotto's work on the last lap.

Australian sprinter Matt Goss was on Greipel's wheel for the final metres but the German was just too strong, claiming his third win in the event.

He is also a two-time Tour Down Under champion and has won 11 Tour stages.

Voigt is renowned for his breakaways and readiness to suffer - he coined the popular cycling phrase "shut up legs" - and the crowd favourite did not disappoint.

He was attacking at the first corner and Dempster quickly joined his escape.

They built their lead to a minute as they lapped the 1.7km course in just over two minutes, but the peloton built speed well before any danger of being lapped by the duo.

The People's Choice Classic, held at Adelaide's East End, is a one-off race that opens the Santos Tour Down Under week amd the six-day Tour starts on Tuesday.

First-year professional Rohan Dennis didn't start Sunday's race due to illness and his Garmin-Sharp teams says he won't take part in the Tour.

The bunch did not catch Voigt and Dempster until lap 20.

"I'm just an old diesel engine, you know ... we worked well together," Voigt said of Dempster.

"Sometimes you have to say 'belief beyond reason' and after five laps I went 'we're going to lap them - we're going to lap them if they don't pay attention'.

"No ... I've been in the business for some years - you know it's 99 per cent not going to work."

Voigt, 41, is the oldest rider in the peloton and there is speculation he will retire at the end of this season.

He remembered once winning a criterium by lapping the field with a solo break at amateur level.

"Hang on - that was back in the last ice age, we still had the mammoths running around," he joked.

Asked if he was on the verge of retiring, Voigt said: "I wouldn't say it's definitely the last, but it's very likely.

"I want to have a good last season, I would really not like to hear 'oh, look at him, that's Jens, he was a good rider before, but he missed the point to stop'."

The Lotto riders were jubilant at the finish, hugging each other and revelling in their command performance.

Goss had a tussle with Kazakh Andrey Kashechkin in the last few laps before setting up for the final sprint.

"I was just asking when did he become a sprinter?," Goss said of the incident.

"I have a lot of respect for all riders ... he was coming across on me a little bit and I just let him know I was there with my team."

Speaking about the final sprint, Goss said: "I feel good.

"Lotto did it perfectly ... Greipel had a perfect 'sit'.

"I tried to lay off so I could come with a bit of speed, but all I could in the end was just run up onto (his) back wheel."


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