T-Mobile rider Gerald Ciolek won his second consecutive stage on the Tour of Germany on Thursday after holding off a determined challenge from sprint specialist Erik Zabel. The 20-year-old German was again the first home after covering the predominantly flat route from Kufstein, Austria, to Regensburg, Germany, in 4hr 8min 20sec.
In damp conditions with persistent drizzle, the Under-23 road world champion had to hold his nerve and battle all the way to the line as Milram's Zabel, who had pushed Ciolek close on Wednesday, again threatened in the dying stages.
CSC's Jens Voigt again retained the yellow jersey and looks set to win his second consecutive title with a 33-seconds lead over second-placed Spaniard David Lopez Garcia. Voigt was never in danger of losing his jersey on the Tour's seventh stage and has the chance to extend his lead in Friday's 33.1km time-trial in Fürth.
"I would like to believe my lead will be enough to win over all, but anything is still possible," Voigt said.
But the individual time-trial may well be the final hurdle for Voigt on the way to his second consecutive win, the Tour's final stage on Saturday over 143.1km from Einbeck to Hanover looks likely to be another battle of the sprinters.
© AFP 2007