US Postal Service Team Report
Ekimov wins Tour of Holland.
After several near misses, including last year's third place finish, the US Postal Service Team, finally won the Tour of Holland yesterday, as Viatcheslav Ekimov confirmed his overall victory with a strong sixth place finish in the final stage to take the win by 25 seconds over yesterday's stage winner Bradley McGee of FDJeux.com
Ekimov gained the overall race lead following his victory in Thursday's time trial and maintained his lead by finishing 18th in the main field in Friday's fifth stage. Ekimov brought an eight second lead over second place - teammate Victor Hugo Pena, third overall at the Tour of Holland last year - and 36 seconds over McGee into yesterday's difficult final stage, a 214 km race from Sittard-Geleen to Landgraaf. However, the USPS team fought off all challenges and Ekimov worked hard to make the final breakaway of six riders.
Besides Pena's third place finish last year, the USPS team twice finished second at the Tour of Holland in both 1997 (Peter Meinert-Nielsen) and in 1998, with Ekimov finishing just two seconds back. In 1999, the team finished third overall (Dylan Casey) and fourth in 1997 (Ekimov), 1998 (Lance Armstrong) and 2000 (Tyler Hamilton). Prior to joining the USPS team, Ekimov finished second (1995) and third (1996) overall as well.
Final overall rankings:
1. Viatceslav Ekimov 20:41:48
2. Bradley McGee, FDJeux.com ; at :25
3. Sergei Gontchar, De Nardi-Colpack; at :34
4. Fabian Cancellara, Fassa Bortolo; at :37
5. Xavier Florencio, ONCE-Eroski ; at :44
10. Victor Hugo Pena; at 1:23
18. Benoit Joachim; at 2:14
19. Max Van Heeswijk; at 2:20
51. Pavel Padrnos; at 11:43
DNF - Steffen Kjaergaard
DNF - Antonio Cruz
DNF - Guennadi Mikhailov