"I'm obviously very happy with this win. I'm only twenty years old and I'm dedicated to helping my leaders this season. This win is very rewarding for the work I've been doing and the progress I have been able to make in the LEOPARD TREK project. I'm very grateful."
Kirsch was part of a break of nine riders that included team mates Pit Schlechter and Bob Jungels, Laurent Didier and Fränk Schleck of RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK, Ben Gastauer (AG2R-La Mondiale), but also two other U23 riders and an elite rider without contract.
Schleck and Didier, friends and team mates, launched one attack after another, in a bid to isolate Gastauer. When Didier eventually got away with three laps to go, Fränk Schleck stayed on the wheel of Gastauer, who to no effect tried to catch back Didier. Kirsch: "There were two races in the same time. We were first row witnesses of how the battle for the pro title unravelled, so that's nice."
Behind the three pro riders, Kirsch, Schlechter and Jungels managed to outwit the other U23 riders and rushed to the finish together, two minutes behind Laurent Didier, who won the elite race. Kirsch won, ahead of Schlechter and Jungels. "This win is very nice for me. It's even nicer because we managed to ride with three team riders to the finish, having dropped every other U23 rider."
Photos: Roland Miny/pressphoto.lu