Milram's Gerald Ciolek's temper flares after another disappointing finish
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Milram's Gerald Ciolek's temper flares after another disappointing finish

by Jered Gruber at 1:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
German ProTour team's woeful Tour continues

The Tour that can't end soon enough continued in Bordeaux for Germany's only remaining, and soon to be extinct, ProTour team on Friday. The embattled team, which is still desperately searching for a 2011 season, has never gotten going this July, and Friday's sprint was just another in a long series of unfortunate days.

After participating in the work at the front of the field in preparation for the sprint in Bordeaux for the Tour's 80th visit to the French wine hub, the wheels came off in the final kilometers.

Inexplicably, Tour flop, Linus Gerdemann, made an ill-advised bid for victory with the full force of the HTC-Columbia team still raging. His move lasted all of about 30 seconds, but former German national champion and sprint hope, Gerald Ciolek, lost a vital cog in his leadoff with the foolish attack.

Afterward, Milram team manager, Gerry van Gerwen, was less than pleased about the former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer's kamikaze effort: "That was an absolutely futile move. He should have stayed with Ciolek and Roberts. Linus was missing in the end."

The chances of late solo success are normally close to nil, but in the waning moments of Stage 18, the chances were even less because of a strong headwind. Van Gerwen was baffled by Gerdemann's move, because the conditions were not unknown to the German: "Everyone on the team knew there was a headwind in the final straight."

Gerdemann's dubious acceleration was a bad omen for the drama set to unfold in the final kilometer. The native of Pulheim, Germany sprinted to an excellent 2nd place on Stage 5 of this year's Tour de France, but nothing much has gone his way since then. Friday's finale was apparently just a little too much to bear for Ciolek. When the Cervelo TestTeam leadout came around the outside and took over the front, Ciolek's final leadout man, Luke Roberts, was unable to accelerate and bring the sprinter to the head of affairs. The former Australian track star came close to following the Cervelo train, but just could not pull it off. The gap was never closed, the Aussie crumbled, and Ciolek was left faltering, many wheels back.

The sprinter who sits 11th on the Points Classification then appears to have lost it. The video shows Ciolek screaming at Roberts in frustration as yet another sprint passed him by - 23rd would be his finish for the day. The former U23 World Road Race Champion could only scream and shake his head in frustration as he watched Cavendish glide to his fourth win of the 2010 Grand Boucle. 

The Milram team will have another chance on Sunday on the Champs-Elysees, but the chances of stage victory look slim when taking into account an unbeatable Mark Cavendish. 2009 Vuelta stage winner, Ciolek, has enjoyed success on one of the most prestigious sprint finishes in cycling though - he took 2nd in 2008 behind Gert Steegmans. 


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