By Susan Westemeyer
Marcel Sieberg got off to a good start in his first year with Professional Continental Team Weisenhof-Akud, but things suddenly went downhill, as he came down with mononucleosis and had to sit out most of his beloved spring classics. But the 1.98 m tall German is a fighter who came back with results good enough to recommend him for the German world's team. And good enough to recommend him to ProTour Team Milram, which has signed him for next year.
"Ever since my U-23 days, it has been my goal to get a Pro Tour contract," he told Cyclingnews. "I was very happy to get the offer from Milram, because I know a lot of the riders there well and the whole team pleases me very much." He is a good sprinter - does he plan to pull sprints for Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel? "It would be a great honour and also a sign of acceptance from the team if I would be allowed to play a role in the sprint train."
His real talent - and interest - though, is for the spring classics, and he wouldn't mind being Milram's man for those races. He has shown his talent there, winning the Ronde von Drenthe for Team Lamonta in 2005. Unfortunately he missed the season this year with his illness. "Naturally I want to develop myself further in the spring classics. In the long term, I hope I can ride to win one."
"Sibi" remains a good team player though: Wins would be nice, "but good work for the team makes me happy, because the good performance of the whole team is behind every success."
He sees his future "as a classics and one-day race rider, but also in smaller tours." His schedule this year reflects this, and he can point to good placings in the Record-Dreidaagse von West-Vlaanderen, the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt, Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of Luxembourg, among others. He can even claim one victory this year: in the Stadlohner Criterium.
The races for the remainder of the season fit exactly into this plan. "Now that the Deutschland Tour is over, there come a few smaller races, like the Sparkasse Giro in Bochum. In the middle of the month is a tour in France, then come the Belgian and Dutch one-day races on the program."
Sieberg could finish his last season before joining the Pro Tour with a special honour: representing Germany in the World Championships. He was the only one from Wiesenhof nominated, and proud to be on the long list. "I am very happy for the nomination for the road championship and it shows me that my accomplishments are being acknowledged, even though things haven't gone so well this year. After I came down with mononucleosis in the spring, I thought I could forget the season," and he concludes modestly, "But it seems to have turned out well after all."