German teams' youngsters in Spain

A trio of young riders from the two German teams are writing on-line diaries from the Vuelta a...

A trio of young riders from the two German teams are writing on-line diaries from the Vuelta a España. Here's a look at their first two stage experiences:

T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl, 23, surely hoped to finish better than 160th in the first non-time-trial stage of his first Grand Tour. He understood why it happened, though: "I felt good and attacked together with Aitor Osa and Gorka Gonzalez." The attack was short-lived and he was soon back in the 25-man leading group. "On a short descent before the mountain ranking, my teammate Andreas Klier and my team captain Oscar Sevilla crashed. But that wasn't enough. Oscar's bike broke and our team car with the replacement bikes was 10 minutes behind us. I gave Sevilla my bike and waited 10 minutes for the replacement. We're almost the same size, so that he could use my bike without problem. Good for him, not for me. That's the way it is in cycling. It's more important that our man for GC finishes in the first group than that I have a chance in a breakaway. I'll have more chances in the next three weeks." (

Compared to Kohl, Gerolsteiner's Thomas Ziegler is an old hand, being 24 years old and already having ridden the 2004 Giro. But Sunday wasn't his day either: "I was hoping to do something today and I'm a little disappointed that nothing worked. I went up the last climb in the leading group, fully motivated. But then I ran out of air. The heat was unbearable. 45 degrees in the shade - but there was no shade. We rode the whole day in the glaring Andalusian sun. My arms and legs are as red as a crab. I drank 13 or 14 bottles today. Normally nobody can last more than five minutes in the swimming pool by such temperatures. I don't know how we managed to last five hours on the bike." (

21 year-old Matthias Russ from Gerolsteiner had the rudest introduction to the Vuelta, describing his time trial this was: "At a quarter to three there I was, totally motivated at the start, after all, it was the start of my first Grand Tour. Somehow I went into the first curve too fast and fell quite elegantly... well, nothing bad happened, the bike was OK, so I got back on it. But that was it for me. I just tried to get to the finish in halfway ok time. During the massage I watched some of the other riders, and Joseba Beloki crashed at the same spot." (

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

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