Tour de France 2007 - Team Previews: T-Mobile
T-Mobile renewed there team and will make a fresh start in the Tour de France
with lots of new faces. Michael Rogers is there team leader and is aiming for
a top 5. With Cavendish and Eisel they have two superb sprinters as well.
By Bart Hazen
T-Mobile has renewed there team in the beginning of the season after
the doping matters around there Tour de France captain Jan Ullrich. The team
introduced a new doping policy which changed the team in many ways. This had
also consequences for there Tour de France team.
After the departure of riders like Jan Ullrich, Eddy Mazzoleni and Andreas
Klöden, it's Michael Rogers a multiple World Champion against the clock,
and 10th in the Tour de France 2006 who is there new team captain for the upcoming
Tour de France.
All the riders of T-Mobile have signed the UCI riders commitment, which allowes
them to start in the Tour de France. Christian Prudhomme the boss of the Tour
de France stated that riders or teams who won't sign that commitment are not
allowed to take the start in London.
Anyway back to the T-Mobile team for the Worlds biggest cycling event. T-Mobile
manager Bob Stapleton says the following about the overall shape of the
"We believe we are sending a very balanced team. We have guys who are
strong in the mountains and overall GC riders circled around Rogers. That's
Sinkewitz, Gerdeman and Merckx. We have breakaway specialists and we have sprinters."
As we said before Michael Rogers is the team captain for this event.
The 27 year old from Australia finished 10th in last years event. He rode without
pressure this season and could prepare himself very optimal for this race. He
is aiming for a top 5 in Paris. Rogers says: "The Tour is the hardest
race of all in my books. Every stage is raced like a one-day world cup race.
I hope it goes well. I have trained very hard and prepared the best I can. I
hope to finish in the top 5."
This year Rogers showed already some form by finishing second in the Volta a
Catalunya behind Vladimir Karpets.
Michael Rogers is the team captain in the Tour de France.
Photo c. Bart Hazen
Rogers gets the support in the mountains of Veteran Axel Merckx, Linus Gerdemann,
Patrik Sinkewitz and Kim Kirchen. For the bunch sprints the team has young British
start Mark Cavendish and Austria's Bernhard Eisel. Young Marcus Burghardt and
Bert Grabsch are the main domestique riders of the team and can do there work
as well in the mountains as on the flat roads.
Next to Rogers we will give a short introduction to all of the other riders
who will line-up for the prologue in London:
Marcus Burghardt - Marcus Burghardt is 23 years old of age and had a
wonderful spring season by winning Gent-Wevelgem in front of his teammate Roger
Hammond. Further he showed himself very emphatically in all the Belgium (semi-)classics.
Burghardt will line-up for his first Tour de France.
Stapleton sees Burghardt playing a key tactical role as the race develops. "You
may see someone like Burghardt working for the sprinters earlier in the race
and then going for breakaway in later stages."
Bernhard Eisel - Bernhard Eisel is 26 years old of age and is a good
sprinter too. He has to help Mark Cavendish in the sprints or can go for own
glory as well. For Eisel it's not his first participation as he rode the Tour
already for La Francaise des Jeux. This year he won already three races; a stage
in the Volta ao Algarve, the Lancaster Classic and the Reading Classic.
The team says about Eisel: "Eisel has plenty of experience of the intensity
of the Tour's bunch gallops. We signed Bernhard with big races like the Tour
in mind, and we never made a secret of that. He has great top-end speed, can
win stages and he has shown his willingness to work for the team."
Bert Grabsch - Bert Grabsch is 32 years old of age and is the replacement
of Giuseppe Guerrini. Guerrini is still suffering from stomach problems and
couldn't start. Grabsch won the German Time Trial Championships last week and
is in great shape in order to help the team in the best possible way. In the
Tour he will also see his brother Ralf, who will start for Milram.
The team says about Grabsch: "Bert has been performing very solidly
in the past weeks. He brings a lot of experience and is definitely a strong
replacement for Giuseppe."
Mark Cavendish - Mark Cavendish is 22 years old of age and is the sensation
of the season so far. Cavendish turned pro in the beginning of this season and
won already six races in a sprint. His six wins in this season are the Grote
Scheldeprijs, two stages in the 4 days of Dunkerque, two stages in the Volta
a Catalunya and a stage in the Ster Elektro Toer. Cavendish will line-up for
his first ever Tour de France in his own home country Great Britain, which is
very very special to him because he knows the course very well.
Stapleton says on Cavendish: "The team believes in him, he believes
in himself, he's won against other top riders already. The Tour takes all that
up another notch though - the speed and the intensity at the finish is going
to be something he hasn't experienced yet."
Mark Cavendish after winning the final stage in the Ster Elektro Toer.
Photo c. Bart Hazen
Cavendish: "It's like a dream come true for me to ride the Tour so early
in my career. I will give it everything to repay the team management for their
faith in me."
Linus Gerdemann - Linus Gerdemann is 24 years old of age and will line-up
for his first Tour de France. Linus is a young promising German rider for the
Grand Tours in the future. For this years Tour de France he is already aiming
to do well in the best young rider classification. So far Linus didn't had his
best season after a solid 2005 and 2006 season. His best results thus far this
season 9th in Milano Torino, 9th in the Ruta del Sol, 18th in the Tirreno-Adriatico
and 20th in the Tour de Suisse.
Linus says: "It is my first Tour start and it will be part of the learning
process, but of course I also want to race well."
Kim Kirchen - Kim Kirchen is 28 years old of age and will line-up for
his 3rd Tour de France. Kirchen is in great shape by finishing second in the
Tour de Suisse, 2 weeks ago. Further he finished 2nd in the Tirreno-Adriatico,
3rd in Milano-Torino and 3rd in the Brabantse Pijl. Kim is riding so well that
the team extended his contract with two more years. Kirchen will hunt for stage
wins and will be one of the key riders for Michael Rogers.
Sport-Director Piva says: "Kim has been consistently impressive since
the start of the season, and he doesn't shy away from taking on responsibility
Axel Merckx - Axel Merckx is the oldest rider in the team with an age
of 34. Axel, who is the son of Eddy Merckx, will line-up for his final Tour
de France. Axel announced in the beginning of the season that he will quit with
professional cycling after the end of the season. In preparation on the Tour
de France, Axel rode already the Giro D'Italia and did a lot of work for Maglia
Rosa wearer Marco Pinotti. In the Tour de France he will be one of the helpers
for Rogers and will try to go once again for a stage win. It would be a great
victory to end his career.
And last but not least we have Patrik Sinkewitz. Patrick Sinkewitz is
27 years old of age and won Rund um den Henninger Turm in May. He also finished
2nd behind Fabian Wegmann in the road race of the German Championships last
week. The team hopes that Sinkewitz will show his great form on the ferocious
slopes of the Alps and Pyrenees in order to help Rogers achieving his goal.
But he will try to go for own success as well.
The T-Mobile roster for the Tour de France:
Marcus Burghardt (23/Germany)
Mark Cavendish (22/Great Britain)
Bernhard Eisel (26/Austria)
Bert Grabsch (32/Germany)
Linus Gerdemann (24/Germany)
Kim Kirchen (28/Luxembourg)
Axel Merckx (34/Belgium)
Michael Rogers (27/Australia)
Patrik Sinkewitz (27/Germany)
Sport-Directors: Valerio Piva (48/Italy) and Brian Holm (44/Denmark)