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Ciolek preparing for Tour de France

Gerald Ciolek (Milram) opens the Champagne.

Gerald Ciolek (Milram) opens the Champagne. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Milram sprinter Gerald Ciolek was a non-finisher in the Tour de Suisse, pulling out on Saturday’s tough stage to Liestal, but is satisfied with the workout he got in advance of the Tour.

“It was a difficult race. Maybe in some stages I was missing some luck,” he told Cyclingnews. “I was involved in the crash, but overall it was good preparation for the Tour, I think. I am pretty happy with my condition right now.”

Ciolek said that he had no lasting effects from the crash, saying that he was fortunate to suffer only flesh wounds. His best placing was fifth on stage two to Sierre.

Like many of the competitors in the race, he will relax for a few days, then start preparing for a big appointment in July. “First of all, I will take some days off, get some rest,” he said. “I am looking forward to the nationals at the weekend…that is another goal for our team, to win the title there. Then the Tour is not so far away – you can’t do so much in this short time, so the main thing is about recovery.”

Ciolek sprang to prominence when he won the German elite title in 2005. He stunned his compatriots on that occasion, beating Robert Forster and Erik Zabel to grab the jersey, despite being just 18 years of age.

He then spent 2007 and 2008 with the T-Mobile and Columbia teams, riding alongside Mark Cavendish there and picking up some decent victories. He has seen his former team-mate struggle at times this season, but still expects him to be the rider to beat in July.

“It might be a little bit more open, but I guess Columbia will still be the dominating team in the sprints,” he said, when asked if he thought that things would be different his time round. “I think Cavendish will be in the right condition for the Tour.”

Ciolek will co-lead the Milram team with Linus Gerdemann. The latter will target hillier stages and possibly could aim for a high general classification placing.