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Westphal: A surprised surprise winner

Carlo Westphal hits the line first…

Carlo Westphal hits the line first… (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Nobody was more surprised than Carlo Westphal (Gerolsteiner) himself when he won the Eneco Tour's fifth stage. Not exactly a household name, the 22 year-old didn't even realise at first that he had just brought in his first professional win.

"I was totally concentrated and just wanted to keep on going," he said. "And then I was the first over the finish line. Man, I am still beside myself and a little surprised that it worked out. But I know this for sure: I am very happy and totally overjoyed."

On his way to bringing in the team's 17th season victory, Westphal managed to get in the leading group when the peloton was split by the wind. "Carlo had the right instincts," said Directeur Sportif Christian Wegmann. "In the closing circuit I told him 'go ahead and try it and see what happens'. He obviously took that to heart. At any rate he has gained a lot of self-confidence from this win."

With the stage win Westphal moved up to 12th overall, but Monday evening he only wanted to enjoy "the thrill of victory". "This is an absolutely unaccustomed feeling for me," he said. "But a great feeling like this can happen more often. I wouldn't have anything against that!"

Westphal turned professional in 2006 with the Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof before moving to Gerolsteiner in 2007. The question remains as to where he will ride in 2008, since Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Micheal Holczer has still not made a final announcement as to whether the team will have a new sponsor or will have to fold.

"Whether I have an idea of my future? I still have no contact with any other team, at any rate," Westphal said.