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Race Roundup: Peterson Sitting Pretty

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Garmin-Cervelo's Tom Peterson took the lead in the Presidential Tour of Turkey when his group of fellow escapees took nearly 12 minutes out of the peloton on today's stage 5 to Fethiye. Peterson came in best-placed of the eight-rider gruppetto which stole the GC show today, in a hilly stage won by Matteo Rabottini of Farnese Vini, and now owns a 27" lead over Cameron Wurf (LIQ) and Alex Efimkin (TT1) at 29". Every stage is hilly, but tomorrow's trek peaks out more than 30 flat km from the line, and the two weekend stages have small climbs. So Peterson has a pretty decent chance of hanging on in what is really just a three-way battle now. Two more riders, Andrey Zeits and Thibault Pinot, are within 2:02, while the rest of the peloton is 11:45 back or more. My hunch is that there aren't whole minutes left to gain in the next few days, barring a long-range escape, but among the first three half a minute is never much.

In Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, Pavel Brutt saw his lead chopped down to a precarious 38" as Damiano Cunego and the other Heads of State dropped the Russian on the day's final major climb, Le Gibloux. I haven't had much time to watch so far, but in light of today's events we're looking at an exciting finale, with a 20km time trial and a fairly hilly final stage, albeit with a long, flat run to the line at the end. Of the guys within, oh, 90 seconds of the lead, the notable cronomen include Cadel Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov at 42", Marco Pinotti at 55", Jani Briajkovic at 58", Denis Menchov at 1.03 and David Millar at 1.20.

Stefan Schumacher won the first stage of the Vuelta a Asturias, a lovely route but without many big names in attendance. The weekend action also includes a classic on the Podium Cafe calendar, the Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt race in Germany. HTC are bringing Cav, Degenkolb, Eisel and others, so they probably rate the favorites, but Fabian Wegmann has owned the race two straight years. Also, watch out for "Germany" which includes Marcus Burghardt, Gerald Ciolek, Danilo Hondo, and a few other locals whose teams apparently didn't want to commit to staffing a fourth race on that day.

The Trophee des Grimpeurs appears to be officially off this year. Had the sponsor not disappeared, that Coupe de France race would have been Sunday. Grimpeurs = climbers, so you can assume it's a funfest. Maybe next year.