Tour de France 2008 - Team Gerolsteiner
A "highly motivated" Team Gerolsteiner heads into the 95th Tour.
Full of expectation. Realistic. Full of anticipation. Confident. Hopeful.
There is a number of adjectives used by Hans-Michael
Holczer in regards to the 95. Tour de France. Team Gerolsteiner's
boss will be heading into his sixth French Tour with his Team on Saturday in
Team Gerolsteiner at the team presentation.
Photo © 2008
There is no doubt that he and his squad have plenty of experience to help
them keep their goals realistic and to assiduously master the three week
challenge, which will be covering 3559.5 kilometers. "We are certainly not prone
to illusions. But the Team is highly motivated", says Holczer, adding: "I plan
to wait and let our guys surprise me."
The Gerolsteiner riders – eight Germans, one Austrian – have 21 chances to
surprise their Team Manager during the 95. "Grand Boucle". Twenty-one stages
before the traditional finish on Saturday July 27 on the Parisian boulevard
Champs-Élysées. Twenty-one stages (four of which are mountain top arrivals and
two of which are time trials) during which a lot can happen.
And Holczer is well aware of that. "I am certainly full of anticipation. Our
Team has a chance to take a shot in practically any situation", says the man
from Herrenberg fairly confidently. Robert Förster and
Heinrich Haussler have good chances in the sprint,
Sebastian Lang is good against the clock,
Fabian Wegmann and Stefan Schumacher are
formidable when it comes the "classic stages" – The Gerolsteiner riders have a
chance at a stage victory. And it is a stage victory that once again is the
Team's major target in France.
Tour presentation: Stefan Schumacher
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
Besides this the Team is also focusing on the general classification.
Regarding the fight for Tour victory 2008 Holczer believes opportunities to be
far more equal than in recent years thanks to the new control system of the
international cycling union UCI. "Things are a lot more open". Nevertheless he
is fairly reserved. Also in regards to the chances of his riders for general
classification. "I'd be satisfied with a fairly good ranking in the two-digit
area", says the Team Manager, indirectly addressing
Markus Fothen and the Austrian Bernhard
Kohl. It would be excellent should one or both of them do better in
the general classification. "Of course we wouldn't be averse to that", says
2008 Tour de Suisse, Stage 5: Markus Fothen wins solo. Markus
finished the race in 8th place.
Photo © 2008
The same goes for the various special classification jerseys. Yellow, green,
red/white or white – Team Gerolsteiner is keen to play a part in the colors-game
in France. "Naturally that is something one also has an eye on. And every jersey
makes an impression in the Tour", says Holczer, adding: "But we should remain
realistic. It is difficult to aim for something like that. After all, we're not
the only ones with something like that in mind. But it goes without saying:
Should we have a shot at one of the jerseys we will of course take it. Those who
know the fighting spirit of Team Gerolsteiner's riders know what that means. A
side effect that the Team Manager would also welcome would be if the Team
managed to reach Paris as a whole (with all nine riders) - as they did last
"But that is something no one can guarantee - not during the Tour - Things
are pretty hectic especially at the onset", explains the manager from Herrenberg.
This year particularly, since there will be no prologue to start things off but
a regular stage from Brest to Plumelec. The number of possible candidates for a
stage victory, garnished with the yellow Jersey of the Tour leader, is a lot
higher. One thing Holczer can guarantee is, that his riders will do their best
to make a lasting impression. And the Team Manager is more than willing to let
his riders surprise him.
Tour de France Squad
Robert Förster (aged 30/residence Markkleeberg)
Markus Fothen (26/Kaarst)
Bernhard Kohl (26/Klagenfurt, Austria),
Sven Krauss (25/Herrenberg)
Sebastian Lang (28/Erfurt)
Ronny Scholz (30/Herrenberg)
Stefan Schumacher (26/Nürtingen)
Fabian Wegmann (28/Freiburg)
Oliver Zaugg (27/Arcegno, Switzerland).
D.S. Christian Henn
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