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German National Championships - CN
Oberen Werntal, Germany, June 24-26, 2005
Day 2 - June 26: Road Races, 204/108 km
Sensational win in Germany
18 year-old Gerald Ciolek beats favourites and becomes youngest German Champ in history
By Hedwig Kröner
T-Mobile's series of German Championship titles has lasted 12 years. Young Continental team Akud-Arnolds Sicherheit rider Gerald Ciolek put an end to it today, using a strategy well-known in Germany: "When two disagree, the third one is happy" [literal translation of a famous saying - ed.]. Although the race unfolded like the ProTeams wanted it to, in a bunch sprint, the surprise winner emerged out of nowhere and beat Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) and Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) by far - clearly demonstrating that German cycling is far from dying out. Ciolek is the youngest German Champ in the history of the event.
"I was completely surprised, too," Ciolek said after the race. "When I was in the front during the finale, I just thought to myself 'now, you go flat out'. It's a very big victory for me. But I'm not going to lose my sense of reality now. We'll see what happens next." Ciolek's biggest win so far was the Rund um den Henninger Turm Junior race in 2004.
Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster was bittersweet about his second place: "I did my job and smashed Ete [Erik Zabel - ed.]," he said. "But then somebody was even faster and that was a real surprise. My respects."
A slightly disappointed Zabel added, "With 300 meters to go, I thought 'all or nothing' and started to sprint. Maybe that was a little too soon as there was a headwind." Zabel missed out on his third German Championship title after winning in 1998 and 2003, and was also not nominated to compete in the 2005 Tour de France just a few days ago.
How it unfolded
Under a blazing sun and crushing heat, 103 German Elite riders lined up the start of the German Championships in the South-Eastern city of Mannheim. The parcours to master totaled 204 km in 17 12 km long loops and included a section on the Autobahn, which proved to be particularly difficult because of temperatures around 35° in the afternoon. Although the course was flatter-than-flat, pre-race favourite teams T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner couldn't settle for a bunch sprint finale in their comments before the race, so the event took off very nervously. Plenty of attacks shaped the race during the first hours, and the pace averaged 47 km/h in the seventh lap.
The first serious break of the day took off km 49, and included two riders from each of the German ProTeams: Fabian Wegmann and Torsten Schmidt from Gerolsteiner as well as Matthias Kessler and Thorsten Hiekmann from T-Mobile. The break of seven was completed by André Greipel and Lars Wackernagel (Wiesenhof) as well as Karsten Volkmann (RSH) - a well-balanced group, but the T-Mobile management opted for their sprinter Erik Zabel and took over the controls, after several other riders had countered and bridged the gap to the front. The leaders counted 15 riders when they were caught with 50 km to go.
Another move was then made by Stefan Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Enrico Poitschke (Wiesenhof) and Felix Odebrecht (Akud-Arnolds Sicherheit), but the peloton was already focused on a bunch sprint at that moment. Zabel was sitting at the end of his T-Mobile train, gliding over the Autobahn with the breakaway in sight. But it wasn't in his interest to catch the three to soon, so the thirteen T-Mobile riders kept the break at a safe distance, at about half a minute, while using the race situation for a team time trial training ride...
In front, the three men worked well together and could extend their lead to nearly one minute with 20 km to go. But with the determined T-Mobile squad controlling the race as it did, there was not much hope for them. As the break passed the finish line for the last loop, the peloton was only 24 seconds away.
But the cautious pace of the bunch made counter attacks possible, and CSC's Linus Gerdemann seized his chance with seven kilometres to go. He caught the break and even went past it. Only Ziegler and Odebrecht could follow, while Poitschke was dropped. Gerdemann then led the break, with the other two merely following. Gerolsteiner then reacted and also engaged in the chase with T-Mobile, and the result was 'peloton groupé' with four kilometres to go.
The T-Mobile train was leading again as another CSC rider attacked: Christian Müller, another young talent. Müller went flat out, got a gap but the pace was too high. Wiesenhof then kept the pace up in front as the struggle for a good sprint position began. Zabel started the sprint soon, with second favourite Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) on his wheel. But in the middle of the road, one sole rider without any helping teammates just proved even stronger than the two experienced sprinters: Gerald Ciolek (Akud-Arnolds Sicherheit) went right at it and won by three bike lengths in front of Förster and Zabel - absolutely amazing!
Elite Men - 204 km 1 Gerald Ciolek (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 4.25.21 2 Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) 3 Erik Zabel (T-Mobile Team) 4 Sebastian Siedler (Team Wiesenhof) 5 Lars Teutenberg (Team Sparkasse) 6 Stefan Heiny (Team Comnet-Senges) 7 René Weissinger (Volksbank Leingruber Ideal) 8 Mathias Belka (German National Team) 9 Jan Pokrandt (RSH) 10 Marcel Sieberg (Team Lamonta) 11 Robert Retschke (Team Comnet-Senges) 12 Stefan Parinussa (Rheintreu) 13 Paul Martens (German National Team) 14 Dennis Kraft (Action) 15 Marcel Barth (AC Sparta Praha) 16 Marc-Haji Weißhaupt (Team Moser-AH-Trentino) 17 André Greipel (Team Wiesenhof) 18 Wolfram Wiese (Team Comnet-Senges) 19 Dennis Haueisen (RSH) 20 Markus Eichler (Team Comnet-Senges) 21 Eric Baumann (T-Mobile Team) 22 Timo Scholz (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 23 Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) 24 Karsten Volkmann (RSH) 25 André Korff (T-Mobile Team) 26 Falk Putzke (Vorwärts Or) 27 Volker Ordowski (Gerolsteiner) 28 Björn Schröder (Team Wiesenhof) 29 Konstantin Schubert (Team Comnet-Senges) 30 Michael Franzl (German National Team) 31 Jens Voigt (Team CSC) 32 David Kopp (Team Wiesenhof) 33 Elnathan Heizmann (Team Comnet-Senges) 34 Sven Krauß (Gerolsteiner) 35 Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) 36 Hendrik Werner (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 37 Rolf Aldag (T-Mobile Team) 38 Alexander Maul (Team Sparkasse) 39 Uwe Peschel (Gerolsteiner) 40 Christian Leben (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 0.11 41 Ralf Grabsch (Team Wiesenhof) 0.13 42 Christian Knees (Team Wiesenhof) 43 Patrick Keller (Volksbank Leingruber Ideal) 44 Michael Muck (German National Team) 45 Hannes Blank (German National Team) 46 Philipp Seubert (German National Team) 47 Stefan Schäfer (German National Team) 48 Rene Obst (Team Wiesenhof) 49 Thomas Liese (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 50 Michael Rich (Gerolsteiner) 51 Steffen Radochla (Team Wiesenhof) 52 Jochen Uhrig (German National Team) 53 Linus Gerdemann (Team CSC) 54 Matthias Ruß (Gerolsteiner) 55 Enrico Poitschke (Team Wiesenhof) 0.25 56 Robert Sczepurek (RSH) 57 Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) 0.35 58 Andreas Klöden (T-Mobile Team) 0.38 59 Stephan Schreck (T-Mobile Team) 60 Michael Schweizer (Team Comnet-Senges) 0.44 61 Christian Müller (Team CSC) 0.58 62 Carlo Westphal (Team Sparkasse) 1.02 63 Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner) 64 Tobias Steinhauser (T-Mobile Team) 65 Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) 66 Andreas Klier (T-Mobile Team) 1.06 67 Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile Team) 1.22 68 Felix Odebrecht (Akud Arnolds Sicherheit) 2.00 69 Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile Team) 3.14 70 Torsten Hiekmann (T-Mobile Team) 71 Christian Werner (T-Mobile Team) 72 Nico Graf (German National Team) 6.12 73 Daniel Musiol (Team Wiesenhof) 9.12 74 Martin Müller (Team Wiesenhof) 75 Alexander Gut (Team Lamonta) Elite Women - 108 km 1 Regina Schleicher (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 2.40.34 2 Tanja Hennes (AGC BERTRAM) 3 Angela Brodtka (RG Team Red Bull) 4 Christina Becker (RG Team Red Bull) 5 Elena Eifler (RG Charlottenburg) 6 Julia Claus (RG Charlottenburg) 7 Désirée Schuler (RG TCOOGEE) 8 Charlotte Becker (RG Team Red Bull) 9 Sarah Düster (RG Team Red Bull) 10 Madeleine Sandig (Euregio Egrensis) 11 Eva Lutz (Euregio Egrensis) 12 Marlen Jöhrend (AGC BERTRAM) 13 Sandra Missbach 14 Yvonne Schröder (RG Charlottenburg) 15 Ellen Heiny (ROTHAUS-VIT) 16 Birgit Söllner (AGC BERTRAM) 17 Steffi Degle (RG ROAD CUB) 18 Larissa Kleinmann (Team Stuttgart) 19 Katja Polzin (RG Team Red Bull) 20 Patricia Hempel (Team Stuttgart) 21 Judith Arndt (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 0.02 22 Luise Keller (RG Team Red Bull) 23 Birgit Hollmann (Toyota Moto) 24 Verena Jooß (ROTHAUS-VIT) 0.02 25 Christine Müller (Team Stuttgart) 26 Bianca Knöpfle (ROTHAUS-VIT) 27 Susanne Juranek (AGC BERTRAM) 28 Annekatrin Nitzsche (Toyota Moto) 29 Anna Beyer 30 Julia Theisen (RG Charlottenburg) 31 Kathrin Flecken 32 Sabine Fischer (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 33 Eva Maria Neumark (RG ROAD CUB) 34 Theresa Senff (Euregio Egrensis) 35 Heike Schramm (Euregio Egrensis) 36 Anja Ritter (Team Stuttgart) 37 Caroline Noll (Euregio Egrensis) 38 Laura Lange (Euregio Egrensis) 39 Tanja Fenge (AGC BERTRAM) 40 Christiane Holst (AGC BERTRAM) 0.05 41 Andrea Edmeier (Team Stuttgart) 42 Johanna Stephan (Team Stuttgart) 43 Ann-Katri Hellstern (Euregio Egrensis) 44 Sandra Dietel (RG ROAD CUB) 45 Nicole Kampeter (Toyota Moto) 46 Anne-Joseph Bertram (AGC BERTRAM) 47 Rosmarie Mayer 48 Katharina Blum (Team Stuttgart) 49 Kerstin Sosnowski (ROTHAUS-VIT) 50 Yvonne Arndt (Euregio Egrensis) 51 Sabine Clas (Team Stuttgart) 52 Kerstin Forstner (AGC BERTRAM) 53 Peggy Kraatz 54 Liane Bahler (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 55 Anja Lungwitz (Euregio Egrensis) 56 Caroline Humplik (Team Stuttgart) 57 Solve Von der Fecht 58 Claudia Häusler (Team Stuttgart) 0.07 59 Susanne Beyer (RG Team Red Bull) 60 Claudia Seidel (RG Charlottenburg) 61 Claudia Hecht (Euregio Egrensis) 62 Claudia Stumpf (Equipe Nürn) 0.11 63 Karin Bürger (AGC BERTRAM) 0.14 64 Claudi Schlichtmann 0.16 65 Mareike Westphal (RG Team Red Bull) 0.19 66 Senta Hartmann 0.22 67 Nicole Jesierski (RG Charlottenburg) 68 Trixi Worrack (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 0.28 69 Tina Liebig (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 0.36 70 Anke Wichmann (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) 1.00 71 Melanie Hessling 2.52 72 Angelika Grabosch 11.13 73 Britta Nadler 74 Annegret Keil 75 Joelle Franzmann (RG TCOOGEE) 76 Dorothee Grun (RG Charlottenburg) 77 Nina Köhn (RG Charlottenburg) 78 Maria Walter 13.10 79 Katja Boxtermann 80 Sabrina Paschkewitz (RG ROAD CUB) 15.00