For the first time in its long and glorious history, Austria has the honour to send eight of its native sons to the Elite RR World Championships. Keeping in mind the importance of cycling for the average, yodelling Austrian, it is no wonder that the officials have regarded the selection of the team as top secret. All we could do was speculate, based on the sparse rumours that passed the locked doors of the Headquarters of the Austrian Cycling Federation.
Now it is clear that the following riders will be participating:
Men Elite RR:
Eisel Bernhard (MQS)
Glomser Gerrit (SAE)
Haselbacher Rene (GST)
Morscher Harald (NUR)
Pfannberger Christian (NUR)
Riebenbauer Werner (NUR)
Totschnig Georg (GST)
Wrolich Peter (GST)
This year the Austrian cyclists showed the stunned spectators that they are more competitive in sprints and "other-than-mountaintop-finishes" than the years before. Glomser, Wrolich and Haselbacher are "real" allrounders, very explosive in sprints and relatively good in the mountains (Glomser, successor of Cadel Evans as winner of the notoriously hard
"Österreich-Rundfahrt" sprinted to the podium in a Vuelta stage, Haselbacher made it to the podium in a Giro sprint stage, Wrolich is the man for escapes, as he showed this year in Köln). These three have the best chances, especially if they arrive in a group. Totschnig and Morscher will stick to team-oriented work, as there are no "real" ascents and Riebenbauer, a pure sprinter, could surprise if the whole bunch arrives together at the finish.
Also Bernhard Eisel, who rides the second season as espoir for top Italian team Mapei, and Christian Pfannberger will be part of the team. The young Eisel gained his first victory as a professional this year, with the 15th International "Select" Radclassic Gleisdorf, a very hilly race over 162 kilometres. Christian Pfannberger was second in the recent RLP Rundfahrt in Germany, also a good allrounder with focus on mountains. Most probably the two youngsters in the team will also be teamworkers, maybe with the possibility go with with some "escapados", but the main goal for these still very young and talented riders will be to collect some experience for their future careers.
Not participating are Matthias Buxhofer (PHO), who is injured, Peter Luttenberger (TAC), who is impressively out of form, probably due to an illness, and Gerhard Trampusch (MAP), a sad fact for his many fans.
This is the race where a good Austrian placing is most realistic, especially Bernhard Kohl and Stefan Rucker have good chances. Bernhard Kohl is this year's winner of the "Rund um den Henninger Turm" in his class, right in front of fellow countryman Stefan Rucker. He also placed seventh in this years Uniqa Classic, a very good result right between riders such as Cadel Evans or Christian Wegmann (despite a litte faux pas, changing his bike with buddy Stefan Rucker, which was forbidden due to the fact that Bernhard wore the national team dress and so it was a change between teams, and this consequently led to an 2-minute time penalty...) He also had a respectabe 36th place in this years Bank Austria Tour.
Stefan Rucker finished first in Linz-Budweis this year, a race belonging to the Under 23 World Cup, he also won the "Kirschblütenrennen" and placed - as mentioned above - second in "Around the Henninger Tower". In the Bank Austria Tour he placed 51st.
Junior Men RR:
Men Elite TT:
Totschnig Georg (GST)
Georg Totschnig, this year's national time trial champion, will be the only
Austrian participant in the TT (which has never
been an Austrian speciality). Gerrit Glomser was also nominated for the TT at
first (which surprised us all a bit) but he
decided "at the last minute" not to start.
Women Elite RR:
Posch Doris (Pro Arbö Ladies Team Tirol)
Wieser Isabella (URC Charly Lietzsport)
Woman Junior RR:
Schober Bernadette (Arbö Askö Wiesbauer Graz)
Woman Elite TT:
Woman Junior TT:
Of course the Austrian women will also be present at Zolder, with a small, but fine line-up. Doris Posch will start in both the time trial and road race. She is this year's winner of the Südtirol Rundfahrt and she was also Austrian time trial champion in 2001 and 2002.
Isabella Wieser is this year's Austrian road race national champion.
18-year-old Bernadette Schober will also compete in both disciplines, time trial and road race. After fine results in 2002 (first place in this years Austrian junor time trial and second place in the road race of her class as well as successful participations in races in Czechia and Germany) the World championships are the big objective for this very talented young woman. On account of her great performances the sponsoring for her was increased, a very positive signal for female cycling in Austria in general.
Written by Ullin and Ingrid of Cycling4Fans - Many thanks from the Daily