Ciolek wins mass sprint

German youngster too quick in Kufstein

T-mobile sprinter Gerald Ciolek won the sixth stage of the Tour of Germany after a sprint finish through the foothills of the Austrian alps into Kufstein on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old German was the first home after covering the predominantly flat route over 175km from Laegenfeld in three hours, 57mins and 40 seconds as CSC's Jens Voigt retains the yellow jersey. Ciolek had to work hard to hold off a challenge from the sprinting pack including strong finishers such as Italians Danilo Napolitano, Paolo Bettini and German Erik Zabel who pushed him hard to the line.

"I waited until the last moment and I really attacked when I was in a good position, it was a bit too narrow on the right, but it wasn't a problem and I am very pleased with my tactics," Ciolek told German television station ARD. "A victory on the German tour is something to savour and I am so pleased I have it under my belt. The team worked hard all day long for the victory to put me in the best possible position."

Specialist sprinter Erik Zabel, who beat Ciolek in a sprint finish at the end of the third stage to claim victory, had fewer chances to break through the pack and finished a disappointing ninth.

The race received a surprise visit from Dane Michael Rasmussen, the rider sacked by his team Rabobank during this year's Tour de France while holding the yellow jersey after giving his team false information. The 33-year-old was on his way to his home at Gardasee.

On Thursday, the Tour leaves Austria after two days and crosses back into Germany to finish the 192.2km into Regensburg.

© AFP 2007

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