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Ciolek's 21st birthday present

Ciolek (left) and Sieberg

Ciolek (left) and Sieberg (Image credit: Florian Schaaf)

Gerald Ciolek of T-Mobile Team turned 21 in style yesterday, winning the first stage of the 3-Länder Tour and taking the leader's, climber's and young rider's jerseys. "Gerald has earned a glass of champagne this evening," said his Directeur Sportif, Tristan Hoffman, on "But just one. After all, we want to keep on going for stage wins in the next few days."

Ciolek, the reigning U23 World road champion, won the mass sprint of a 32-man group. It was close, though. He raised his arms in triumph when he crossed the finish line, but could only be sure of the win after the race jury examined the finish line photo. He beat out his former team-mate, Marcel Sieberg. The two rode together on Team Wiesenhof last year.

Sieberg, who now rides for Team Milram but is rumoured to transfer to T-Mobile for next season, came up strong at the end and nearly took the sprint. "I'm glad that Gerald won," he grinned. Ciolek returned the favour, saying "I would have been happy for Marcel to win."

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