Ciolek Nabs Breakthrough Stage Win at 2009 Vuelta a Espana
Germany's Gerald Ciolek sprinted to his first stage win in a major tour on Sunday's second day of the Tour of Spain.
The 22-year-old Milram rider powered across the finish line in Emmen less than a wheel's width ahead of Italy's Fabio Sabatini and Britain's Roger Hammond.
"My form's been good since the Tour de France but a win has been missing so it's great it's finally arrived," Ciolek told reporters.
"It was windy and the final sprint wasn't straightforward so I started my final acceleration early. It was close, but just enough for me to come through and get the win."
Ciolek, a former German national champion and under-23 world champion, said he would now raise his sights.
"Now I've got a stage, maybe I can go for the leader's jersey for a few days. I'll certainly give it 100 percent."
Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara kept the overall lead, eight seconds ahead of Ciolek and nine seconds up on Belgian Tom Boonen.
"I didn't expect to hold on to the lead today, I thought a sprinter like Boonen would get it, so this is a nice bonus," the Stage 1 winner told reporters.
"Tomorrow we'll try and defend the lead again. The team did a good job today working on the front and this is the reward."
Referring to the huge crowds of Dutch cycling fans who lined the stage route, waving Spanish flags and banners, Cancellara said: "Bringing the race here was an experiment but it's worked."
Five breakaways livened up the 203-kilometer stage that looped through the northern Netherlands from Assen to Emmen.
Spain's Francisco Martinez and David Garcia, Tom Leezer and Lieuwe Westra of the Netherlands and Germany's Dominik Roels broke away as soon as the starter's flag dropped.
Westra was the last to be caught, less than 15 kilometers from the line and a bunch sprint became inevitable.
After four stages in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the race moves to Spain on Wednesday and finishes in Madrid on Sept. 20.