Hat-trick for Leopard Trek, Gilbert finally wins
Three Leopard Trek riders won their respective road race titles while Philippe Gilbert finally seized the Belgian crown as a weekend of national championships came to a close.
Leopard Trek's Fabian Cancellara, Frank Schleck and Robert Wagner won the Swiss, Luxembourger and German races respectively, with Cancellara and the Schleck brothers controlling their races from start to finish.
Lampre also won three titles although one - from youngster Adriano Malori - came in the time trial.
"It fills me with pride to wear the Swiss jersey," said Cancellara. "This is the second time I have won it, and I must say that I got attached to it the first time around."
"In the last turn, with almost 300 metres to go, I was in third position behind Hondo and] Ciolek," Wagner said. "At 250 metres to go, I went full gun. This made for a very, very long sprint.
"It is incredible to win the German Meistertitel. I’m looking forward to wearing the jersey for a year."
The Luxembourg race ended as expected as Andy and Frank Schleck arrived at the finish alone, with Frank retaining his title in the end.
In Hooglede Gits, serial bridesmaid Philippe Gilbert finally won his Belgian national title, having made the podium four of the previous five years.
The 28-year-old Omega Pharma-Lotto rider had to deal with being a marked man throughout but rode aggressively to come in a few seconds clear of Gianni Meersman and Jelle Wallays. Quick Step star Tom Boonen finished seventh.
Boonen's team-mate Sylvain Chavanel fared better in the French race with a solo attack just under three laps from the finish in Boulogne-Sur-Mer.
"There couldn’t have been a better way to win," Chavanel said. "Arriving solo you get the chance to savour the victory. I attacked from far away because there were many riders ahead and if I had waited any longer I would have risked getting shut out of the final."
In Italy the road race was on Saturday with the time trial taking place Sunday. Former world and European U23 champion Adriano Malori (Lampre) won in Sicily, with Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank - Sundgard) second and Liquigas' Alan Marangoni third.
Road race champion Giovanni Visconti did well to recover from his victory to come fifth.
"When we went into the last corner, I knew I was going to be champion," Ligthart told the ANP news agency. "It was a very nervous race with an early escape. I knew that the wrong Rabos were in the group and that they would counter.
"Rob (Ruijgh) rode very strongly, great work by him. I am grateful to him."
Robert Gesink of Rabobank abandoned the race while in the leading pack, with his team explaining that he was feeling the effects of altitude training the day before.
Matt Brammeier of HTC-Highroad won his second Irish national title ahead of Daniel Martin of Garmin-Cervelo.
David McCann was third with Nicolas Roche fourth.
Time trial champion Edvald Boasson Hagen pulled out of the race after he was diagnosed with shingles.
Nicki Sorensen took his fourth Danish national championship with a solo effort in Nyborg.
"We played our cards just right," he said. "In the final part of the race, both Chris (Sorensen) and I were in the crucial break but I didn't want company at the finish line so I wanted to go alone."
In Eastern Europe there were further successes for Lampre as Oleskandr Kvachuk added the Ukrainian road championship to Friday's time trial title, while Grega Bole won the Slovenian national championship.
In Russia, Pavel Brutt of Katusha won the road race title.