Andreas Klöden wins Bitburger City Nacht - morale is down

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04.08.2007/ Andreas Klöden returned to racing yesterday evening.  Klöden won the Bitburger City Nacht, a criterium in the German city of Rhede. Cyclingheroes spoke with Klöden and Fabian Wegmann.

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Wegmann (2), Klöden (1) & Müller (3) during the ceremony in Rhede (picture: Cyclingheroes)

Picture gallery: Bitburger City Nacht, Rhede (2 pages)

Andreas Klöden (Astana) won the 16th edition Bitburger City Nacht in 2:10:50, last years winner Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) came in second and Milram's Marcel Sieberg grabbed the final podium spot.

A group of six riders attacked after 60 kilometers. The riders in the strong breakaway group were: Andreas Klöden (Astana), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner, Richard Faltus (Team Sparkasse), Dominik Roels (Akud Rose), Marcel Sieberg and Martin Müller ( both Milram).  The lead of the Klöden group was growing rapidly. Martin Müller was the first rider to attack out of the leading group, trying to play out the tactical advantage of the Milram squad having 2 riders in the breakaway. The U23 rider Dominik Roels attacked several times and showed an impressive performance.

But it was Andreas Klöden who launched the decisive attack. Fabian Wegmann jumped to Klöden but with 2 laps to go, the Astana rider attacked again and Wegmann wasn't able to follow the strong performing Klöden.

Althoug German media reported again and again that pro cycling is dead in the last couple of weeks, the enthousiastic crowds cheered Andreas Klöden and his colleagues during the race and enjoyed the crit in Rhede.

Fabian Wegmann was happy with his second spot and told Cyclingheroes about his furious chase in the final lap: "At the last 1500 meters I rode at full speed. You never know if he is going to make a mistake but Andreas did really well, he really deserved it." Last years winner of the Bitburger City Nacht concluded with: "But a second place for these fantastic crowds is a result I am very pleased with."

Andreas Klöden was only allowed to start by his Astana team with special permission, as the team voluntarily suspended itself for all races in August. Klöden enjoyed the race in Rhede but also said that he would have liked to start at the Tour of Germany and he feels that the suspension is a "slap in the face."

Asked what he will do during the Astana suspension in August: "I have family, so I won't be bored." Klöden was taking time to pose for photograhers and signing autographs for fans. Klöden, who's name was cheered by the crowds during the race, said he did not necessarily need to be acclaimed but the 32 year old number 3 of the 2006 Tour de France admitted that he loved the: "fabulous atmosphere and to be able to race with his colleagues. I think I am pretty much in shape. Its a shame that it fades away at home and I am not allowed to start at the Tour of Germany."

Klöden is now targetting the world championships in Stuttgart. Klöden said: "I am German so if I start, I will start for Germany [Klöden lives in Switzerland]. Every rider has to be nominated. It will be difficult for me [to get a spot at the German team], as I said before I have no races in August so now I have to see how I will prepare for the world championships. Surely its not the best point in time to take a time out."

Asked if he sees the race in Rhede as a preparation for the worlds, Klöden said: "Not really, as its only 2 hours long. Two hours won't bring you really much as the worlds is about 6 hours long. But its ok to stay in shape. I already rode 65 kilometers this morning and tonight another 90 kilometers, so its a good day of training.“

Klöden said he would like to come back to Rhede. "I already was in Rhede, I believe it was in 98 or 99. I have not been here for a long time but it have been a real pleasure to be here.“ Asked if he wanted to proof something to Fabian Wegmann in the final lap of the race, Klöden said: "No, I know Fabian's capabilities, and he knows about mine. I knew I had to attack and he already did a few races after the Tour, so I was a bit more fresh. That was my advantage in the final part of the race, I still had some energy left and was able to attack."

Asked what will happen after this month, Klöden said: "Honestly I can't tell. We will start at Pro-Tour races again, at the Tour of Poland or the Vuelta [Espana, Tour of Spain] but I have to check what I exactly want to do. As you may imagine my morale is down. I have to get myself together again a bit and after that we will see."

Results Bitburger City Nacht Rhede

1. Andreas Klöden (Astana) 2:10:50 hours

2. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)

3. Marcel Sieberg (Milram)

4. Richard Faltus (Team Sparkasse)

5. Dominik Roels (Akud Rose),

6. Martin Müller (Milram)

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