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Ciolek eager for captain role

Gerald Ciolek presented with Team Milram, Wednesday, January 7

Gerald Ciolek presented with Team Milram, Wednesday, January 7 (Image credit: Patrick Reed)

By Susan Westemeyer in Dortmund, Germany

Gerald Ciolek is looking forward to being the number one sprinter at Team Milram, instead of one of several, as he was at Team Columbia.

His decision to change teams was "a combination of things," he said at the Milram team presentation in Dortmund, Germany.

"At Columbia I was just one of many sprinters, with very strong competition within the team. There were many riders who could win."

Two of his in-team sprinting rivals were Mark Cavendish, who had 17 wins, and André Greipel, with 14 wins. Ciolek took three wins in 2008.

At Milram, Ciolek vaulted to the position of team captain, a lofty position for a rider only 22 years old. "Here I will get more attention. It does bring more pressure, but it was a question of whether I wanted to take on the responsibility."

Ciolek, known as a sprinter, said in a 2006 interview that he didn't want to limit himself to that role. "I am not a sprinter who can only win on the flat stages; I can also win when it is a bit more difficult." He pointed out his mountaintop sprint victory in the fifth stage of the 2008 Deutschland Tour.