Sinkewitz: The new Cunego?
Patrik Sinkewitz’s mountain stage win in the Deutschland Tour marks him out as another young climber
Patrick Sinkewitz was so pleased with his stage win in Wednesday’s third stage of the Deutschland Tour that he couldn’t stop himself jumping up and down on the podium. He also took the yellow jersey of overall leader and leads Jan Hruska (Liberty Seguros) by 11 seconds with four stages remaining. As the podium girls moved in for the kiss, the grin that spread across the young Sinkewitz’s face showed that it was the icing on the cake. The German, who turned pro with Mapei in 2001, dedicated his win to his mother, much to the delight of fans and media. But he was also quick to thank his Quick Step team-mates, and cited Tom Boonen’s stage win on Tuesday as having given the team a boost. “Having someone like Paolo Bettini here on the race really helps my morale – he gives me lots of advice. And with Tom’s win yesterday, morale today was really high anyway. Now I have the yellow jersey, as well as the King of the Mountains jersey,” Sinkewitz smiled, still disbelieving his achievements, not to mention the manner in which he stamped his authority on the day’s stage. “There was no plan really. I knew that today could have been really cold and tough, but when it wasn’t, and I found myself in that front group, I felt that I had good legs and so was able to attack.” At only 23 years old, Sinkewitz follows in the pedal strokes of 22-year-old Saeco rider Damiano Cunego who took the overall honours at the Tour of Italy on Sunday. In a team that has always concentrated on Classics wins, and so lacks riders like Sinkewitz for stage races, was he likely to feature in Quick Step’s Tour de France squad? “You’ll have to ask my sports director [Patrick Lefevere] that,” the young German smiled at the packed post-stage press conference. In Cunego and Sinkewitz, is cycling about to see a new generation of young climbers, in the shape of the late Marco Pantani, take on the established Grand Tour champions.?