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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News for November 2, 2007

Edited by Hedwig Kröner, with assistance from Susan Westemeyer

Ciolek: "I am not a sprinter"

An interview with Gerald Ciolek

Gerald Ciolek (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Gerald Ciolek sprinted to win the German National Road Championship in 2005 at the age of 18, then again to win the U23 World Championship a year later and claimed seven race stages this season - all in sprints. With that in mind, Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer asked why Ciolek claims he's not a pure sprinter.

After taking his first ProTour win and an Under 23 UCI World Road Championship victory while riding with Team Wiesenhof Akud in 2006, Germany's Gerald Ciolek stepped up a notch in 2007 to warrant his graduation to ProTour squad T-Mobile. The youngster claimed an overall stage race victory, points, sprint and young riders jerseys, as well as seven stage victories - all of which were sprint victories. Yet despite his prowess when it comes to planting the power, Ciolek touts himself as an all-rounder and says there's more to come.

"I am surely not a pure sprinter and want to further develop myself as an all-rounder," said the T-Mobile Team rider. "But since the large majority of my wins so far have been sprints, of course I'm trying to get better with that, too."

Ciolek won seven stages this season, with his eighth win being the overall title in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt. That count includes three ProTour wins in the Deutschland Tour; wins that most riders would envy, especially youngsters in their first ProTour season. But it was only enough to put 21 year-old Ciolek in second place on T-Mobile's win list for 2007, as 22 year-old team-mate Mark Cavendish bagged an impressive 11 wins in his neo-professional year.

Despite Ciolek being groomed as the next big German hope, if not the saviour of German cycling, his nose wasn't put out of joint by the Manxman's success. "We are totally different sprinter types and with our full racing calendar, there is more than enough space on the team for more than one sprinter," said Ciolek. Despite his calm approach to his team-mate's success, Ciolek refused to call Cavendish a rival or say who is number one on the team.

To read the full feature on one of Germany's biggest talents, click here.

Rabobank reviews 2007 season

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) had all the reasons to smile this season
Photo ©: Davide Tricarico
(Click for larger image)

Team Rabobank had "a very successful year in the field of sports," said Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink in quite an understatement when reviewing the last few months. The season opened with Oscar Freire's second win in Milano-SanRemo and ended with Denis Menchov's overall victory in the Vuelta a España.

Freire brought in some other wins along the way, as did Australian Graeme Brown. After Milano, the next highlight was Thomas Dekker's win in the Tour de Romandie. The 22 year-old won the closing time trial to take the overall win, moving up from third place.

The team had great hopes going into the Tour de France with two captains, Denis Menchov and Michael Rasmussen. "That looked promising, but it turned out to be a big disappointment for us," Breukink said, continuing his understated tone. Rasmussen took the leader's jersey in the eighth stage when he blasted the field on the way to the mountaintop finish at Tignes. He held on to it for eight stages before the team pulled him out of the race and fired him for having lied about his whereabouts before the Tour.

But Rabo didn't buckle under, kept going and came back with Menchov's victory in the Vuelta, which was topped off by Freire's three sprint wins in the second, fifth, and sixth stages. "That was a very special performance, the highlight. How many Dutch teams will win such a major tour?," asked Breukink.

Looking to next season, he will be counting on Thomas Dekker, especially in the Classics, saying "If he can improve himself a little bit more, he will be able to compete for victories. Then indeed we have a successor in our own team for Michael Boogerd, even though Thomas is obviously a very different type of rider."

Wiggins and Cavendish team up on track

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish are going to be partners at T-Mobile Team in the coming year, but in the off-season they will also be team-mates, riding together at the Gent Six Days from November 20-25.

"I've never ridden with Mark before so it will provide some important technical experience," Wiggins told the BBC. "The plan will be to stay out of trouble and get some good racing experience together."

The two British riders are both looking to the Olympic Games in Beijing next summer, possibly as a Madison team on the track in addition to the individual events.

Wiggins, 27, will open his indoor season with the Manchester Revolution this month. "I won't be doing any of the World Cups, so races like Revolution and Gent will be perfect for me and form part of my training and preparation," he said. "I've never ridden with Mark before so it will provide some important technical experience."

The 22 year-old Cavendish led T-Mobile with 11 wins in his first ProTour season. At the Manchester Revolution last month, he continued his winning ways, taking the scratch and the Madison races.

Valverde up against Peugeot 207 in Murcia

By Antonio J. Salmerón

The International Criterium Ciudad de Murcia will take place in the capital city of the region of Murcia on November 18. Some of the world's most famous cycling stars, such as Alejandro Valverde, Stefano Garzelli, national champ Joaquim Rodriguez, Oscar Sevilla, Paco Mancebo, Iñigo Cuesta, Quique Gutierrez and Angel Vicioso will participate in the event, as well as all the local professional riders like Fran Perez, Jose Joaquin Rojas and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Claudio Casas (Andalucia-Cajasur), Eloy Teruel and Jose Antonio Baños (G. N. Mateos) and Jesus Buendía (Barbot-Halcón Viajes).

The winner of the overall race will be determined by adding the results of each competition, which includes a Criterium, Elimination and Team Time Trial. However, organizer Meta 21 has this year introduced a 'face to face' race between a rally car, a Peugeot 207 to be exact, and Caisse d'Epargne leader Alejandro Valverde, who won the event last year. To compensate for the lesser horsepower of the latter, the local rider will have to complete a couple of laps less than his opponent.

The event will also be the opportunity for veteran sprinter Angel Edo to receive a plaque of tribute as he will leave professional cycling after this race.

Boogerd cancels Curaçao race

The 6th Amstel Curaçao Race taking place on Saturday, November 3 will not see retiring pro Michael Boogerd line up one last time on the tropical island of the same name. The Dutchman still has problems with his injured knee which led him to cancel his participation in the Giro di Lombardia in October, and even interfered with his farewell race on the Cauberg in his home country one day after the last ProTour race of the season.

Boogerd wanted to get on the bike one last time in Curaçao, where he is currently on a holiday with his family, but his knee wound still hasn't healed properly. "As long as the wound is still open, I can't do any sports," the 35 year-old told the Algemeen Dagblad. "I can't even play in the water with my son. It's a real shame."

Participants in the Amstel Curaçao Race include such other famous names as Tom Boonen (Quickstep), Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) and Fränk Schleck (CSC).

Mitsubishi-MKG-Jartazi almost complete

The new Mitsubishi-MKG-Jartazi Continental Pro squad, successor to the Belgian Continental team Jartazi-Promo Fashion, has almost sealed its 2008 roster. Manager Patrick Stallaert has signed the following riders to his team: Yohan Cauquil, Mathieu Criquielion, Mathieu Drouilly, Grégory Habeaux, Vytautas Kaupas, Sven Nevens, Geert Omloop, Mindaugas Striska, Janek Tombak and Jarno Van Mingeroet (all from Jartazi-Promo Fashion), as well as Hans Dekkers, Frank Dressler, Kalle Kritt, Guennadi Mikhailov, Jens Mouris, Martial Ricci-Poggi, Stefan van Dijk, enfant terrible Frank Vandenbroucke, James Vanlandschoot and Maxime Vantomme.

A couple of places are still left to be filled, but will primarily be reserved for cyclo-cross riders. Former Jartazi rider Jan Soetens will leave the team, and Jurgen François is still in negotiations for a contract extension.

Manager Patrick Stallaert is also still in talks with potential sponsors for the new team, which will see its license shifted from Belgium to Estonia. Main sponsors Mitsubishi Motors and Jartazi have business interests in the region, and the UCI was open to create an Eastern European Continental Pro team, which is how the change came about.

As to the directeurs sportifs, Wim De Wolf and Jef Braeckevelt will be joined by another colleague in the next few weeks. One candidate is said to be QuickStep-Innergetic's retired rider Serge Baguet, who stopped his active career in September.

Porky Gulch Classic on the weekend

On Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, Great Glen Trails at the foot of Mt Washington in New Hampshire, USA, will host the Porky Gulch Classic Stage Race, a three-stage, two-day cycling race that challenges cyclists in three distinct disciplines. The winner can claim the title of Best All Around Cyclist in New England. The first stage of the Porky Gulch Classic is the Toughest Two, a two-mile hill climb up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. In the afternoon, the competition shifts to Story Land amusement park in Glen for the Story Land Criterium. Sunday morning, the action heads back to Great Glen Trails for the cyclo-cross portion. Points are awarded based on finish order in each event. Complete information and registration is available at

Bob Roll Ride for Kids in California

The Marin County chapter of ZteaM Cycling, a national cycling club supporting the growth of masters, elite, and youth cycling, is hosting a charity ride together with Bob Roll. On Sunday, November 11, the "Bob Roll Ride for Kids", presented in conjunction with NorCal High School MTB Racing League, will give cyclists the opportunity to ride with former bike racer and current network cycling commentator while helping to support a good cause.

The ride will start and finish at the Woodlands Market in Kentfield, California, and be escorted by the California Highway Patrol: Departure is at 8 a.m. on Sunday, November 11. Participants will ride neutrally until the end of Nicasio Reservoir on their way to completing the 45-mile loop.

All proceeds from the tax-deductible ride will go to youth cycling (NorCal Cycling, Fast Freddie Foundation, Trips for Kids, and ZteaM Cycling). Entry fees prior to the event are $75, $125 or $200; Same day registration is $100. Online registration closes on Friday, November 9 at 8am Eastern Time. The field limit is 200, so riders are encouraged to reserve their spaces early.

To register for the event, visit (key word: Bob Roll) or mail reservations with checks to ZteaM Cycling, 107 Reed Ranch Road, Tiburon, CA 94920. For questions or comments, please email

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