By Tourmalet, translated by Tick
For T-Mobile Team, the Giro d'Italia is an affair of the heart, to which the
whole team management has devoted itself heart and soul. Walter Godefroot has
expressed his deep emotions regarding the race to a sport magazine, saying, "If
we weren't required to by the ProTour, we would never ride the Giro d'Italia."
This unique enthusiasm for this race is shared by most of the stars on the
team, and until Sunday it seemed as if the color magenta would be represented in
Italy by a group who had nothing better to waste its time on. Then an
announcement was made that set the peoples of the world in an ecstasy that a
Benedectine monk would envy: HE would ride the Giro for the first time!
"He" is naturally no one less than the greatest cyclist that the Land of
Poets and Thinkers has ever produced: Erik Zabel, who in his spare time
is the greatest comedian in the whole peloton.
After he spent nearly his whole spring looking for his great triumph, and
thereby rode through the media's cross-fire, "Ete" found his joy in winning by
taking his third victory in the Henninger Turmand wants to celebrate by going
up against Alessandro the Great and giving him run for his money. When the
indignant cycling fan wants to cry out loud at this point, go ahead! But first
that fan should check out the profiles of the stages, and he will see that there
are several stages where the ending is too difficult for a pure sprinter, but
perfect for someone like Zabel.
In Andre Korff and Olaf Pollack, the team has two more
sprinters who can support Zabel as well as look for their own chances. Korff
recently did well in Romandie and Pollack should be known to everyone from last
Eric Baumann is also a sprinter, but a very young one. At this point,
it looks like his future lies more in bouncing over the paves in the spring
races in Flanders, than in riding three-week tours.
Domestique and Zabel friend Jan Schaffrath will accomplish his usual
and easily diminish work for the team - closing gaps, carrying water bottles,
neutralizing excape groups.
Matthias Kessler is returning to the Giro for this first time since
his debut there three years ago, when he shone as a young pro. In the meantime,
he has developed into a very strong one-day race specialist, and there are
several stages in the Giro that seem to be made for his type. A stage win would
not be a surprise.
This is the first Grand Tour for the Netherlander Bram Schmitz. He is
one of those riders who always attacks but is seldom successful. His recent
mountain jersey from the Aragon Tour is one of those rare successes. He will
often be seen in escape groups - hopefully.
Daniele Nardello missed most of the spring with injuries and has the
chance now to present himself well in the Giro.
It will be interesting to see how Christian Werner does, since he can
be considered a rider with potential in the mountains. Since there is no set
T-Mobile captain he will probably be free to do what he can for himself in the
mountain stages. It will be up to him to take advantage of the chance.
As must be obvious to every cycling fan, this is not a team to challenge
Simoni, Cunego and Basso in the mountains. However, at least one stage win
during the race should be possible; anything less would be a disappointment.
T-Mobile for the Giro d'Italia