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Gerald Ciolek (T-Mobile)
An interview with Gerald Ciolek
Gerald Ciolek sprinted to win the German National Road Championship in 2005 at the age of 18, then again to win the U23 World Championship a year later and claimed seven race stages this season - all in sprints. With that in mind, Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer asked why Ciolek claims he's not a pure sprinter.
After taking his first ProTour win and an Under 23 UCI World Road Championship victory while riding with Team Wiesenhof Akud in 2006, Germany's Gerald Ciolek stepped up a notch in 2007 to warrant his graduation to ProTour squad T-Mobile. The youngster claimed an overall stage race victory, points, sprint and young riders jerseys, as well as seven stage victories - all of which were sprint victories. Yet despite his prowess when it comes to planting the power, Ciolek touts himself as an all-rounder and says there's more to come.
"I am surely not a pure sprinter and want to further develop myself as an all-rounder," said the T-Mobile Team rider. "But since the large majority of my wins so far have been sprints, of course I'm trying to get better with that, too."
Ciolek won seven stages this season, with his eighth win being the overall title in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt. That count includes three ProTour wins in the Deutschland Tour; wins that most riders would envy, especially youngsters in their first ProTour season. But it was only enough to put 21 year-old Ciolek in second place on T-Mobile's win list for 2007, as 22 year-old team-mate Mark Cavendish bagged an impressive 11 wins in his neo-professional year.
Despite Ciolek being groomed as the next big German hope, if not the saviour of German cycling, his nose wasn't put out of joint by the Manxman's success. "We are totally different sprinter types and with our full racing calendar, there is more than enough space on the team for more than one sprinter," said Ciolek. Despite his calm approach to his team-mate's success, Ciolek refused to call Cavendish a rival or say who is number one on the team.
To read the full feature on one of Germany's biggest talents, click here.