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Team Milram works for best young rider Roger Kluge
German track rider takes best young rider prize for Milram
Milram's Roger Kluge was one of the revelations of the Tour of Qatar after he took several good placings in the sprints, finished fourth overall and won the best young rider's blue jersey after the six days of racing.
The 24 year-old from Eisenhüttenstadt in the east of Germany, travelled to Qatar expecting to help lead-out Gerald Ciolek in the event's sprint finishes but when Ciolek crashed out, Kluge took over. He showed strong early-season form by getting in the front echelon on stage two and then won the battle for third place behind breakaways Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaaanderen) and eventual overall winner Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil).
Kluge also finished sixth on stage four and eighth on stage six to win the best young rider competition by over a minute.
"It's been a good race for me and the team," he told Cyclingnews.
"To be honest I didn't think I'd go so well. I came to Qatar thinking I'd be riding for my teammates but they rode for me as we defended the best young rider jersey."
"Unfortunately we lost Gerald [Ciolek] in a crash and with he's going to be out for two months but we've had a good start to the season with my ride here, Linus Gerdemann's win in Mallorca and before that at the Tour Down Under, where we won the mountains jersey. Hopefully we can keep it going. It's good to get some momentum going."
Kluge is lanky and lean, revealing he is on-form thanks, in part, to his recent participation the Berlin six-day.
"Yeah, I've got good legs after training well this winter. We had a camp in December and then another in January. I also rode the Berlin six-day. I think that was good preparation for Qatar."
"It's a special kind of racing in Qatar; it's very fast and nervous. It's the first time I've ridden [here] but I like it because it's a lot like a points race on the track."
Olympic silver in Beijing
Kluge won a silver medal in the points race on the track at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and turned professional on the road with the LKT Team Brandenburg Continental team last season. Team Sky was interested in signing him for 2010 but after finishing third in the German national road race Championship, he opted to sign with Milram.
"This is my first season with a ProTour team. I've only got a one-year contract but its okay. I think we can do well this year and the team will continue."
"Last year I raced on the road quite a bit with the pros but there's a big difference and at this level they race a lot faster and a lot harder. There are a lot of guys here in Qatar who can really ride fast."
Kluge has proved he's one of them but he still loves the track. He won the 2009 European Madison title and will ride both the points race and Madison at the World track Championship in Copenhagen in March.
Remember his name.