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Gerolsteiner Goes Giro
By Anita van Crey
Date: 5/7/2003
Gerolsteiner Goes Giro
- preview by Thomas ('Tourmalet')/translation by Susan ('Tick') from cycling4fans -

Team Gerolsteiner, led by Hans Michael Holczer, a former high-school teacher whose leave of absence from the school ends this year, is unfortunately the only German team to participate in the Giro d'Italia this year. Although they will also ride the Tour de France this year for the first time, and captain Davide Rebellin won't ride the Giro because of a shoulder injury he suffered in the Fleche Wallone, Gerolsteiner will start in Lecce with a powerful team.

Daniele Contrini (Ita, 28 years old)
Contrini is a good time trialist who will ride the Giro as a helper. The race has a special meaning for him as an Italian. So far he has two professional victories.

Gianni Faresin (Ita, 37 years old)
Faresin has been riding professionally since 1988 and he is undoubtedly the most experienced Gerolsteiner. His strengths lie in the difficult, hilly one-day races. His biggest victories were the Lombardei Tour 1995 and the Italian street championship in 1997. He will ride the Giro in support of Totschnig, but will probably have his chances on one or two stages.

Ellis Rastelli (Ita, 28 years old)
The third Italian in the Gerolsteiner line-up celebrated his biggest career victory two years ago in the first stage of the Giro, a bad-weather stage with a very dangerous descent shortly before the finish line. His assignment at the Giro will be to act as a helper and to sacrifice himself for the team's success.

Robert Förster (Ger, 25 years old)
Sprinter Robert Förster is the fastest man on the Gerolsteiner team. He will participate in the mass sprint finishes, and who knows, maybe he can even win one. His problem is that he is a "pure" sprinter and therefore has problems coming over the mountains. However, he is extremely fast and is considered a major German sprinting talent. He joined Gerolsteiner this year after his last year's team Nürnberg Versicherung went under, and he missed much of last year due to mononucleosis. The Giro will be his first Grand Tour.

Sebastian Lang (Ger, 23 years old)
Sebastian Lang is a very talented time trialist, as seen by his second place in the U-23 time trial world championship in Lisbon. This year he won the prologue of the Rhodes Tour and finshed second overall. In his first pro season last year, he won two stages of the Rhineland-Pfalz Tour. He is a good all-arounder and particularly enjoys riding races in Flanders. The Giro will also be his first Grand Tour. He will ride as a helper, and can be particulary helpful in flat stages when speed is needed to catch an escape group.

Georg Totschnig (Aut, 31 years old)
Austrian Georg Totschnig will be Team Gerolsteiner's captain in the Giro. He is a man for the mountains, as seen by his 7th place in last year's Giro or his 9th place in the 1995 Giro. He is not just a climber but also a good time trialist, which gives him a great advantage for the Giro. He can surely place in the top ten, however, he will also ride the Tour de France this year and it remains to be seen whether he will just ride the Giro as preparation for the Tour.

Gerhard Trampusch (Aut, 24 years old)
Gerhard Trampusch is considered an enormous talent for the mountains and could possibly even take the place of his fellow-countryman Totschnig as team captain, if Totschnig decides to ride the Giro just as a preparation race. However, in contrast to his fellow Austrian, Trampusch is not a good time trialist, and if he wants to do well in the GC, he will have to do it on such difficult mountain stages as Zoncolan or Pampeago. However, he is not a bad sprinter and has placed in the top 10 in mass sprints in smaller races. His biggest success so far was 4th in the MIdi Libre in 2000. The Giro is his first Grand Tour.

Ronny Scholz (Ger, 25 years old)
Ronny Scholz is not only a member of Holczer's Gerolsteiner team, he is also a member of Holczer's family, having married his daughter Vanessa. He most recently won a stage of the Niedersachsen Tour on his 25th birthday. His biggest career success to date was winning the Rhineland-Pfalz tour last year. He has the abilities to be a good stage rider and a good mountain climber. The Giro, his first Grand Tour, will see him ride as a helper, but maybe he will have a chance for himself in a stage or two.

Marcel Strauss (Swiss, 26 years old)
Strauss has long been considered an up-and-coming talent -- witness his 2d place in the 2001 Swiss championships -- but often fails to live up to his potential. His greatest dream is to win one of the Classics and he especially loves the Belgian race. He will serve as a team helper in the Giro.

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