Qhubeka's Ciolek third in sprint
Gerald Ciolek (Photo supplied)
Rome - Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung on Thursday achieved its first podium placing in its first World Tour event when German team captain Gerald Ciolek sprinted to third place in the second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico.
The only riders faster than him after 232km from San Vincenzo to Indicatore were stage winner Matthew Harley Goss
(Orica-GreenEdge) and Manuel Belleti (AG2R).
Ciolek's Italian team-mate Kristian Sbaragli made the South African team's accomplishments complete with an eighth place finish, giving the team two riders in the top ten on a rain-filled day.
“That was the perfect start in our first World Tour race," Ciolek rejoiced after the race. "We ride for a fantastic project to get African kids on bicycles. That is a great motivation for me and the team. I think the whole team, which works very hard for our goal."
"The guys prepared the sprint for Gerald really well. The best are at the start here, so this is the perfect beginning for such an important race," said sport director Jens Zemke.
"Our team worked hard for this result and Gerald's good results the last few races have shown us that he would be at the front."
After two of seven stages, Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-QuickStep leads in the overall rankings ahead of his team-mates Michael Kwiatkowski and Niki Terpstra.
Rain poured down much of the day, as the peloton spent much of the stage chasing after a three-rider break group. The last of the trio was finally caught with about 30km to go, and the closing mass sprint was set up.
The distinctive MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rain jackets were often seen near the front as the race wound down, as they brought Ciolek into position.
Sprinter Ciolek will have another chance for a top stage finish on Friday in the next expected mass sprint. The third stage runs for 190km from Indicatore to Narni Scalo.
The Tirreno-Adriatico ends next Tuesday in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic Sea with an individual time trial.
One of the highlights of the seven-stage, 1 060km long "Race Between the Seas" is the mountaintop finish Saturday in Prati di Tivo.MTN Qhubeka team:
Gerald Ciolek, Ignatas Konovalovas, Andreas Stauff, Martin Reimer, Jay Thomson, Kristian Sbaragli, Jaco Venter, Sergio PardillaResults of the 232km second stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico between San Vincenzo and Indicatore on Thursday:
Matthew Goss (AUS/ORI) 232km in 5hrs 48min 41 sec (average 39.921 kmh),
2. Manuel Belletti (ITA/ALM) same time, 3. Gerald Ciolek (GER/MTN Qhubeka)
s.t., 4. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM) s.t., 5. Mark Cavendish (GBR/OPQ)
s.t., 6. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 7. Andre Greipel (GER/LTB) s.t.,
8. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/MTN Qhubeka) s.t., 9. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN)
s.t., 10. Davide Appollonio (ITA/ALM) s.t.
Mark Cavendish (GBR/OPQ) 6hrs 8min 2secs, 2. Michal Kwiatkowski
(POL/OPQ) at 2secs, 3. Niki Terpstra (NED/OPQ) at 3secs, 4. Tony Martin
(GER/OPQ) s.t., 5. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) s.t., 6. Giovanni Visconti
(ITA/MOV) at 14secs, 7. Alex Dowsett (GBR/MOV) s.t., 8. Benat Elorriaga
(ESP/MOV) s.t., 9. Juan Jose Cobo (ESP/MOV) s.t., 10. Andrey Amador