Ciolek wants Vuelta leader's jersey after stage win

German Gerald Ciolek (Milram) beats Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas) in Vuelta a España stage two, l-r.

German Gerald Ciolek (Milram) beats Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas) in Vuelta a España stage two, l-r. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Gerald Ciolek's won his first Grand Tour victory in yesterday's Vuelta a España stage two. It helped to crown a season that had been frustrating for the young German and his Milram team.

It was his second win of the 2009 season, and the eighth for Germany's ProTour team, Milram.

"My form has been good since the Tour de France, but I didn't have any wins," Ciolek told SID. "It is fantastic that it finally worked out."

Ciolek, who turns 23 later this month, beat Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas) in a tight sprint in Emmen, Netherlands.

The stage win gave him a 20-second time bonus, which was enough to catapult him from 53rd overall to second place. He is now one second ahead of Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and eight seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).

"Maybe I can take over the leader's jersey," he said. "I will certainly give 100 percent for that."

The three-week Vuelta a España continues today with what should be a sprinters' stage. The 185-kilometre stage takes the riders from Zutphen to Venlo, Netherlands, with 17 kilometres in Germany mid-stage.

Ciolek said there are "three pretty hard weeks" and the team wants to continue the good start it's had.

He made his Grand Tour debut last season in the Tour de France with team Columbia-Highroad. He finished twice second during the race. But Mark Cavendish overshadowed him at the USA-based team and he was one of the reasons Ciolek left. He again rode the Tour this year, finishing in the top ten seven times.

Ciolek got the year off to a good start this season, but in the spring came down with an infection. He only returned to top form at the Tour de France in July. He underlined his good form recently with his third-place finish in the Vattenfall Cyclassics.

His only other win this season this season was Mallorca Challenge's Trofeo Calvia in February. "Spanish races are good for me!" he said after his Vuelta win yesterday.

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