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Wiesenhof's precocious teenager Gerald Ciolek, who also happens to be one of this season's Fab Four members in procycling, won Friday's third stage of the Deutschland Tour, edging out the rather more experienced Erik Zabel in the bunch sprint in Schweinfurt. There was some consolation for Zabel at yet another near miss as bonus seconds on the line carried him level on time with race leader Vladimir Gusev.
Ciolek, 19, who was the German champion last year, took his first victory in a ProTour race after lone breakaway Marco Pinotti was swallowed up on the run-in to the finish. The young German steamed through on the right of the road to outstrip his rivals and in the process no doubt add some more financial substance to the contract he is reportedly set to sign with T-Mobile.
Steaming was also Andreas Klden's condition today, but in his case it was with anger as he vented on his website about T-Mobile's refusal to let him ride some criteriums after third place finish in the Tour de France. "After the Tour de France, I would have loved to race in front of the German public, but I didn't get the go-ahead from my team," Klden complained.
"My next race should be the Regio-Tour, but I've not decided yet if I'll race or not," added the 31 year old, who has still not been offered a contract extension by T-Mobile. His agent, Tony Rominger, confirmed Klden had had three offers from other teams. "Everyone knows that Klden has the potential to win the 2007 Tour," said Rominger.
Stage 3, Witzenhausen-Schweinfurt
1 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Wiesenhof-Akud 203.3km in 4.56.22
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
3 Andr Greipel (Ger) T-Mobile
4 Luke Roberts (Aus) CSC
5 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Crdit Agricole
6 Alexei Markov (Rus) Caisse d'Epargne
7 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
8 Roy Sentjens (Hol) Rabobank
9 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre
10 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel
1 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel 14.08.39
3 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) T-Mobile 0.01
4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.07
5 I¤igo Cuesta (Spa) CSC 0.10
6 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 0.11
7 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
8 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step 0.13
9 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre 0.14
10 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana 0.17
- Stuart O'Grady recorded a double coup at the Tour of Denmark despite losing the sprint for the third stage to Gerolsteiner's Robert Frster. However, the Australian's second place was enough to take him into the overall lead at team-mate Fabian Cancellara's expense on the day that his CSC team also confirmed the offer of a two-year contract running into 2008.
"Continuing on the team is the obvious thing for me to do in order to concentrate on the Classics, in which I have a lot of experience and also results," said O'Grady. "At the same time, I'm looking forward to the big stage races, where I have a new role with a lot of responsibility and my job will be to protect our team captains.
"There's no doubt joining Team CSC has given my career a boost. The team has big confidence in me and supported me right from day one. Bad luck has prevented me from making the results I'd been hoping for, but there are still some good races ahead of us. I really enjoy being a part of Team CSC, where I've established a lot of friendships. Now I know what lies ahead of me for the coming years, and that gives me the opportunity to achieve many big results together with the team."
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