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91st Giro d'Italia - Gerolsteiner Team Preview
By Bart Hazen
Date: 5/10/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Gerolsteiner Team Preview

91st Giro d'Italia - Gerolsteiner Team Preview
David Rebellin and Robert Förster lead a team of journeymen and apt young pupils in the hunt for stage wins and glory.

Gerolsteiner will start with ambitions to win some stages with fast man Robert Förster and Italian veteran Davide Rebellin. The duo will be supported by some young guns and experienced riders. With Andrea Moletta and Oscar Gatto the team has two more Italians who will want to seek some glory in their home tour.

Davide Rebellin needs no introduction to cycling fans; the 36 year old rider a pro since 1992 is a consistent performer and no stranger to the podium. His specialty are the one day races and Ardennes classics and short stage races. In 2004 he accomplished a unique triple, winning the Amstel Gold Race, the Fleche Wallonne (he won it again in 2007) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the same year. Rebellin has a stage win at the Giro and other demanding one day races: the Classica San Sebastian, Championships of Zürich, the Criterium International and recently Paris-Nice for the second time. He was also ranked #2 in the UCI ProTour in 2007.

Davide Rebellin

In 2008 he is the current #1 in the CQ Ranking of 2008 with 1044 points; meaning Davide is the most consistent rider of the season; with the wins in the Haut Var and Paris-Nice and stepped onto the podium in Milano-SanRemo (4th), Amstel Gold Race (4th), Fleche Wallonne (6th), Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2nd) and the Rund um den Henninger Turm (2nd). In the Giro he will hunt for stage wins. Gerolsteiner still hasn’t a sponsor for 2009 (Gerolsteiner ends its sponsorship this year), and wants to shine in the Giro to attract a new sponsor.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2008: The grand gentleman of the peloton, Davide Rebellin does an after race interview after finishing second. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Robert Förster - Sprinter
Along with Rebellin the waterboys will count on Robert Förster their sprinter for stage wins. Frösi as he is nicknamed has been a pro since 2001 when he signed with the team.  Last year he won two stages in the Giro. One regular by winning the 5th stage and one in default after the recent ban of Alessandro Petacchi, (the Italian sprinter lost all his Giro stage wins). Förster also won a stage in the Vuelta D’Espana in 2006 adding it to a stage victory at the Giro. Förster has shown great form already in 2008 by winning two stages in the Volta ao Algarve and can be expected to weigh in the sprinters stages.

2006 Giro: Robert Forster, Maximiliano Richeze, Olaf Pollack and Paolo Bettini gesturing  "ala Fonzerelli... 'eh' " cross the finish in the final sprint on Stage 21 in Milan. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Team Gerolsteiner
2008 Giro d'Italia Squad

• Robert Förster
• Thomas Fothen
• Johannes Fröhlinger
• Oscar Gatto
• Sven Krauss
• Andrea Moletta
• Volker Ordowski
• Davide Rebellin
• Matthias Russ

Gerolsteiner Journeymen
The experienced riders of the team are Sven Krauss, Andrea Moletta and Volker Ordowski. All three have ridden the Giro several times and know what efforts the Corsa Rosa demands.

Team Gerolsteiner at team presentation in Palermo. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Sven Krauss, despite his young age of 25, is already an experienced rider turning pro with Gerolsteiner in 2003. 2008 is his 6th year as a professional. Krauss opened his pro account in 2005 his two wins: a stage win in the Regio Tour and the ProTour TTT in Eindhoven. Krauss is an aggressive rider with a willingness to attack, evidenced by becoming a leader in the Intergiro ranking once. 2007 was also a good season for Krauss with top results: 3rd rank in the 2nd stage of the Tirreno, 5th in the GP Schwarzwald, 6th in the Ster Elektro Toer, 2nd in Rund um die Hainleite and 3rd in the Nürnberger Altstadt. He also competed in both the Giro and the Tour in 2007. In 2008 his best result is 18th in Paris-Roubaix.

Andrea Moletta is 29 years old. The Italian turned pro in 2003 with Mercatone Uno. In 2004 he rode one year for Barloworld before joining Gerolsteiner in 2005. In 2003 he won a stage in the Peace Race. Last year he missed most of the whole season after a crash in Milano-Sanremo on the descent of the Poggio, breaking his right thighbone. He restarted in the Brixia Tour and rode the Vuelta D’Espana to get some basic condition again for the 2008 season. His best result in 2008 was 10th in the GP Miguel Indurain in which he was 2nd in 2006. He also completed Milano-SanRemo, the Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Volker Ordowksi is 34 years old of age and turned pro in 1997, he's been with Gerolsteiner since 1999. A stage win in the Tour of Sweden is his single pro victory to date. In 2005 he was also 9th in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt and 16th in the Regio Tour, in 2006 he was part of the team which finished as 3rd in the ProTour TTT in Eindhoven and last year he was 4th in the Memorial Rik van Steenbergen. In 2008 Volker has no remarkable results which is not uncommon for a strong rider who fills the role of a domestique; wiser to weigh the abundant victories of team leader Rebellin and the Gerolsteiner squad in estimating Volker's strengths and ability.

The team will be completed by the youngsters Thomas Fothen, Johannes Fröhlinger, Oscar Gatto and Matthias Russ.

Thomas Fothen is a younger brother of his better known Markus Fothen who was 12th in the Giro in 2005 and was 2nd in the younger riders competition in the Tour in 2006. Thomas Fothen is a talented 25 year old who turned pro in 2005 with Team Sparkasse; joining Gerolsteiner in 2006. His best results in his career wise is a 7th place in the Nürnberger Altstadt (2006), 4th in the Münsterland Giro (2006) and a 3rd in the ProTour TTT Eindhoven (2006). Thomas will start in his second Giro, finishing 122nd last year.

Johannes Fröhlinger, 22 year old, turned pro in 2007 with Gerolsteiner. In 2006 he had his best year as a U23 winning the Trophee des Champions and the Tour d’Alsace, one of the most important stage races in France for U23 riders. Fröhlinger is a very complete rider. He rode his first Grand Tour in his first year as a pro by finishing 45th in the Vuelta.

Oscar Gatto, 23 years old from Italy turned pro in 2007; while in the U23 ranks Gatto was a strong performer collecting wins in important U23 races with win's at: the Giro della Valle D’Aosta, Giro delle Regione, Giro del Veneto and the Coppa Citta’ di Asti. Oscar finished his first Grand Tour in his first year as pro finishing 141st in the Giro. His best result was the 2nd place overall in Paris-Correze.

Last but not least of the young Gerolsteiner talent; German Matthias Russ. Russ is a 24 year old climber from Germany. He turned pro in 2005 with Gerolsteiner and has already won a stage in the Regio Tour in 2006. He also was 4th in the final ranking of the Regio Tour (2005 and 2006), was 74th in the Giro in 2006 and 54th in the Giro in 2007; but his best result in 2007 was 4th place in the German national championships on a tough course won by Fabian Wegmann.

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