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Tour de France: Team Milram Announces Tour Squad
By Staff
Date: 6/30/2007
Tour de France: Team Milram Announces Tour Squad

Tour de France: Team Milram Announces Tour Squad
The squad in the "Baby Blue" colors brings a "Well Balanced" team to the tour capable of controlling the sprints... but will the squad arrive with Ale Jet as his participation hangs in the wind.

Team Milram at the Pro Tour Eindhoven Team Time Trial event; a third for the lads in the "baby blue' jerseys.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Milram announces its selection for the Tour de France. With the Italians Alessandro Petacchi, Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis, the Australian Brett Lancaster as well as the five German riders Erik Zabel, Ralf Grabsch, Marcel Sieberg, Christian Knees and Enrico Poitschke, Team Milram sends a well balanced selection to France. Vittorio Algeri and Antonio Bevilacqua will accompany the team as sport directors.

Team Milram
2007 Tour Squad

1. Zabel, Erik
2. Ongarato, Alberto
3. Grabsch, Ralf
4. Knees, Christian
5. Lancaster, Brett
6. Sieberg, Marcel
7. Poitschke, Enrico
8. Cortinovis, Alessandro
9. Petacchi, Alessandro
Directeurs Sportif: Vittorio Algeri and Antonio Bevilacqua

In the year after Team Milramís Tour premiere, where Erik Zabel sprinted to second in the points classification, the teamís goal for this yearís Tour de France is clearly defined: to win as many stage wins as possible for Milram.

Erik Zabel on the podium after his stage 1 victory at the Tour de Suisse.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

For Erik Zabel, who celebrates his 37th birthday on the start day of the tour, this is his13th participation at the Tour de France. From his point of view, the team performance is in the foreground. "I want to be a full part
of Team Milram and celebrate successes together with my team at the Tour de France,ď says Erik Zabel.

Christian Knees and Ralf Grabsch are doing their second Tour de France this year. At his Tour debut in 2006 Knees was brilliant at a break, in which he codetermined the stage for a long time and finally was awarded the red number of the stageís most combative rider. This, the 26 year-old would like to repeat. "One of my personal goals is to be in a break again and maybe even to survive for the win. But my primary goal is to work for the team first of course,ď Christian Knees says.

"About Ralf Grabsch it can be said that he, at the last Tour de France, excelled especially in the first week and in the mountains. This year, with his impressive solo escape at Paris - Roubaix, he absolutely convinced us that he is an important man for the Tour the France,ď manager Gerry van Gerwen explained. 

"For me, the Tour de France is the seasonís second highlight after the spring classics, first of all itís important that our team can celebrate a stage win. And I want to make my contribution to that,ď Grabsch commented about his goals.

Ale Jet - Victory in Milan on the final stage of this years Giro d'Italia. Alessandro's inclusion in the team is in the balance after a CONI hearing on Monday July 2nd.

Marcel Sieberg and Enrico Poitschke are the debutants in the German Tour selection. With his strong performance in the first half of the season Sieberg qualified for the Tour de France at first go. "Marcel quickly integrated himself into the team very well,ď says Gianluigi Stanga. For the 25 year-old the Tour de France is the first tour over three weeks. Sieberg described his goals in this years grand boucle, "Iím excited about the whole event. I have always dreamt of being at the Tour de France. I am especially resolved to do good work for the team and to arrive in Paris. Maybe I can even show myself in the one or other break,ď

For Enrico Poitschke it has always been an important goal to start at the Tour de France. "At Team Milram I had the possibility to do the Tour for the first time. Before, I was always at smaller teams which didnít start there. Now it worked out, and it is another absolute challenge to me,ď Poitschke said.

"Like last year, the first Tour week is of special importance to us again. Weíre going to France with a well-balanced Team which is able to lead the sprint well. What matters most is that in the end a Milram rider wins,ď Stanga defines his teamís intention during itís second participation at the Tour.

The Milram squad is completed by the Italians Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis as well as Brett Lancaster from Australia. "Brett Lancaster surprised us positively from the very beginning. He integrated himself very well into the Milram-train, especially in the last months and is an excellent chronoman as well,ď Gerry van Gerwen says. Lancaster himself is looking forward to the challenge of the tour, "For me, it is an absolute dream to be there. I just want to do a good job for the team, and who knows, maybe I can even win the prologue,ď the 28 year-old said.

The Italians Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis are looking forward to the Tour de France as well. Ongarato starts at the Grand Boucle for the first time, for Cortinovis it is the third participation. Both want to be at the teamís service and perform successfully at the Tour de France with their team.

Due to the still open increased amount of the permitted asthma-spray Salbutamol with Alessandro Petacchi, it is not sure at the moment if the Italian will start at the Tour de France. On Monday, Petacchi will speak at the disciplinary commission of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI Ė Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano). If Petacchi is able to explain the data plausibly, he is allowed to start again at once.

If not, the Italian Olympic Committee returns the case to the Italian Cycling Federation (F.C.I.), which decides on the degree of penalty then. "The team sticks to the ProTour teamsí ethic code. Accordingly we are obliged to suspend Petacchi until the case is solved,ď Gerry van Gerwen explains. The Italian Olympic Committee plans to publish the results of the disciplinary commission on 3rd July 2007.

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