Ciolek goes into Vuelta with improving form

Milram sprinter optimistic after podium in Vattenfall Cyclassics

Gerald Ciolek's 2009 season has not gone to plan. The young German sprinter moved to Milram as one of the team's captains, but so far he has only brought in one victory. He sees his form improving and looks forward to the Vuelta a España for redemption.

Ciolek, 22, said that he came down with an intestinal virus before Tirreno-Adriatico that he just couldn't get rid off, according to His condition was better in May and he finished in the top-ten six times in July's Tour de France. He finished third in Hamburg's Vattenfall Cyclassics Sunday.

The Vuelta a España, August 29 to September 20, will provide an opportunity for his second win with Milram.

Ciolek left team Columbia after two years to move out of Mark Cavendish' shadow and to become one of Milram's team captains. He noted that his former teammate is "simply the dominating sprinter" of the moment.

The help he gets from his teammates in setting up a sprint is very important, Ciolek said. "If you just let Columbia ride and try to hang on to them, then you will see there are six sprinters fighting for Cavendish's rear wheel. So it is very imprint to be able to put together your own well functioning sprint train."

Ciolek has always said that he is more than just a pure sprinter and can also do well in one-day races.

"It is possible to vastly improve your sprint abilities without being dropped on every small climb. You can see it in Cavendish: he is 100 percent stronger in climbs than last year, but still continues to dominate the sprints."

Ciolek will be without cycling's number one sprinter and his teammate André Greipel in the Vuelta. "I won't be just riding against Greipel, but against 19 other teams with their sprinters," said Ciolek "We have to try to be just a little bit stronger than in the Tour."

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