Team High Road's Gerald Ciolek blasted past the opposition at the end of the opening stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt on Wednesday for victory in a tough uphill sprint.
"It was my first win of the season, and it's come on home soil so that makes it all the more special," said the young German. "I jumped away with 300 metres to go, just after Christian Knees of Milram attacked and I got it by a bike length. I didn't have a lead-out, it was more a case of every man for himself, but I was doing ok and with 150 metres to go I knew I'd got it."
Ciolek's win came as a surprise to his team director Brian Holm. "To be honest, I thought the uphill finish was too steep for him. But I didn't say anything, because I remembered that in the Four Days of Dunkirk [High Road team sports director] Allan Peiper had told me that Gerald got second there on a tough finishing climb." Holm had previewed the climb, which helped him plan the team's winning strategy.
Ciolek arrived just in time to his team's hotel in Germany to see his team-mates Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel triumphing in the Tour of Italy. "It was a really special moment, they were both really fast and up there where they should have been."
As for his chances overall in Bayern, Ciolek said "I don't think I'll be able to defend the leaders' jersey beyond the time trial on Saturday, but we'll certainly do our best to keep it until then."
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Bayern Rundfahrt stage one.