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Tour de France 2008 - Team Gerolsteiner
By Staff
Date: 7/4/2008
Tour de France 2008 - Team Gerolsteiner

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 Brest.

Team Gerolsteiner at the team presentation.   Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

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 Holczer.

2008 Tour de Suisse, Stage 5:  Markus Fothen wins solo.  Markus finished the race in 8th place. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

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 year.

"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.

Team Gerolsteiner
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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