Ralf Grabsch and Marcel Sieberg are neighbours in Köln, Germany, and both will be taking part in the Rund um Köln race this coming Easter Monday. They will view the race from different perspectives, as Grabsch is the Directeur Sportif for Team Milram, while Sieberg rides for HTC-Columbia, but neither wants to miss out on his “home race”.
Grabsch, 36, is doing the the Spring Classics with Milram and said on the race website that what he likes best about Rund um Köln is “the diversified, fascinating course right through the area, in the heart of nature.” He warned, though, that the constant “up and down along the way will require full concentration from the start of the race.” His team hopes to win, of course, but the only German ProTour team also wants to “present the best side of cycling to the fans along the course and to the tv cameras.”
Sieberg, 27, doesn't expect to be factor in the race, as he will be coming directly from the Tour of Flanders the day before. He wants to ride well in Belgium on Sunday, and “will surely be totally exhausted at the end of the day.” He wasn't scheduled to ride in Köln, but asked the team management to enter him, because it is his home race. He first rode the race as an U-23 rider, and says he still finds the atmosphere around the race “amazing.” Sieberg agreed with Grabsch that the key is “to be near the front and concentrated.”
Sieberg will probably be riding for his teammate and good friend Andre Greipel, who also lives in the area. The HTC-Columbia sprinter will be a favourite to win the race.