It was fascinating the last few days to have attended the two German
team presentations. As a journalist, I used the opportunity to learn
what is going on, to get to know the riders and to make contacts. As a
fan, I enjoyed getting to see the riders up close and to talk to them.
The T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner presentations were just about as different
as they could be. Gerolsteiner lived up to its reputation of a relaxed,
casual, family atmosphere. TMO was sleek, organized, all business.
It is interesting to watch the riders' reactions to the presentations.
Let's face it, there's other things they'd rather be doing. Training,
maybe, or after two weeks on Mallorca, they're eager to see their wives
again. But it's part of the pro life and they have to go through with it.
Some of them are bored silly and don't bother to hide it. Some follow
the whole affair with interest. Those who don't speak the language have
it hardest, but usually manage to at least look interested.
Some, like TMO's Klöden and Ullrich, or Gerolsteiner's Haselbacher and
Hoj, pass the time giggling and gossiping. It is most fun to watch the
neo pros, the youngsters who are up there on the big stage for the
first time - big-eyed at the whole spectacle, awed to be standing next
to Jan Ullrich or Davide Rebellin, and nearly bursting with pride at
having the right to be there.
It's the start of new careers and a new season, an exciting time for