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T-Mobile Team Prepares for Belgian Semi Classics
 
By Staff
Date: 2/21/2006
T-Mobile Team Prepares for Belgian Semi Classics
 

T-Mobile Team Prepares for Belgian Weekend
T-Mobile Team for Omloop Het Volk and Kuurne Brussels Kurne, team prepares for a battle of attrition. Interview with Rudy Pevenage, Ulle returns from S.A.

Form test for Klier and Wesemann
Semi Classics the First Test leading to the Spring Classics this Weekend
The road season in northern Europe cranks up this weekend with the tough and gruelling Belgian half-classics Omloop Het Volk on Saturday and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday.

For T-Mobile's leading cobbled specialists Andreas Klier and Steffen Wesemann, it’s a first real form test under race conditions for the big spring classics to come; Tour of Flanders (April 2) and Paris-Roubaix (April 9) "These race are an important indicator of how the rest of the classics season is likely to pan out", says T-Mobile sport and technical director Mario

Kummer, who expects his riders to "ride at the front and control the race tempo". The T-Mobile team is packed with classics’ specialists in the shape of the Italian duo Lorenzo Bernucci and Daniele Nardello, the Russian hard man Sergey Ivanov and young talent Marcus Burghart, who arrives fresh from solid rides at the recent Ruta del Sol and Algarve Tour.

The German duo of Stephan Schreck and Jörg Ludewig round out the TMobile roster. Ludewig slots into the roster in place of Eric Baumann, who crashed heavily and broke bones in Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Algarve Tour.

Battle of attrition
Short sharp climbs define both races, and a dose of the Belgian winter can make these among the hardest races of the season. Het Volk is the first HCranked race of the year and takes the peloton on a 202km trek through Flanders. 24 hours later the same eight T-Mobile riders are back in the saddle to brave the elements in the gruelling 192km slog from Kuurne to Brussles and back.

T-Mobile sporting director V Valerio Piva rates Het Volk as particularly tough, "The demanding 'Muur' and 'Oude Kwaremont' climbs also feature in the Tour of Flanders and they are sure to shake things up in the field." The Italian also expects things to heat up on the numerous cobbled passages along the route.

The weather is always a critical factor is how these races play out. Last year freezing conditions and driving snow turned Het Volk into a real battle of attrition; with only the hardest riders making to the finish, while two years ago wintry conditions forced the organisers to cancel the race. "Rain, cold, snow - the races are a real test of strength. There is nowhere to hide and these races show who has worked the hardest in training," says Piva.

Jan Ullrich Back from South Africa
Interview with Rudy Pevenage

Jan Ullrich is back from a three-week training camp in South Africa, where he had been preparing for 2006 season, together with his team mates Andreas Klöden, Matthias Kessler and Giuseppe Guerini. Sporting director Rudy Pevenage told our editor Dirk Wende, how the training camp on the cape went and what’s next on the plate for Ullrich.

Mr Pevenage, did moving the training camp from Tuscany to South Africa at short notice pay off?
Rudy Pevenage: Yes, absolutely so! Especially when you look at the weather in Europe in the past weeks – particularly in Italy. We had perfect training conditions with summer-like temperatures and a light breeze. Such a focused and intense preparation wouldn’t have been possible in Tuscany. Ice and snow aren’t the order of the day in Cape Town.

Can you give us an idea about the training?
Pevenage: We worked with three blocks of training, like on Mallorca. That means: Training intensely for three days, then taking a rest day, when the lads only went for a relaxed ride. But the training days were very demanding with between five to six and a half hours of rides each day. While in December and January we concentrated on improving the basic stamina, the focal point now was on building up strength.

How do you assess Jan Ullrich’s performance level?
Pevenage: I’m content. Everything is going to plan for Jan. On the cape, he clearly increased his training load compared to Mallorca. Sometimes I even had to hold back Jan a little in his enthusiasm. He was visibly motivated by the good weather – the same goes for Matse, Klödi and Beppe.

What does that mean?
Pevenage: We are on schedule. Jan’s form is getting better day by day. We’ll see at his first race what effect the training has.

When will that be?
Pevenage: That’s not fixed yet and will depend on the further course of the preparation. Jan will now continue his training in Tuscany. There we will decide together with Jan where he will ride his first season race.
Mr Pevenage, thanks for the chat! courtesy Dirk Wende & T-Mobile Team

Gradmesser für Klier und Wesemann

Am Wochenende kommt die Straßensaison auch in Mittel- und Westeuropa in Schwung. So startet das T-Mobile Team am Samstag beim beinharten belgischen Halbklassiker Omloop Het Volk und am folgenden Tag bei Kuurne-Brüssel-Kuurne.

Für Andreas Klier, der die Bonner in seiner belgischen Wahl-Heimat anführt, heißt es, wie für den Schweizer Steffen Wesemann unter Wettkampfbedingungen weiter an der Form für die schweren Frühjahrsklassiker zu feilen die mit der Flandern-Rundfahrt (2. April) und Paris-Roubaix (9. April) ihre Höhepunkte finden.

„Die Rennen sind ein wichtiger Gradmesser für den weiteren Verlauf der Klassikersaison", sagt der Sport-Technische Direktor Mario Kummer, der von seinen Fahrern erwartet, dass sie das Rennen „offensiv angehen" und „das Tempo mitbestimmen".

Im Aufgebot des Bonner Rennstalls stehen zudem die Italiener Lorenzo Bernucci und Daniele Nardello sowie Sergey Ivanov und Nachwuchsfahrer Marcus Burghardt, die zuletzt bei der Ruta del Sol und Algarve-Rundfahrt offensiv in die Pedale traten.

Komplettiert wird das Team um den Sportlichen Leiter Valerio Piva durch den Erfurter Stephan Schreck sowie Jörg Ludewig. Der 30 Jahre alte Westfale rückt für Eric Baumann ins Magenta-Aufgebot. Der Sprinter war am vergangenen Samstag bei der Algarve-Rundfahrt schwer gestürzt und erlitt einen Schien- sowie Wadenbeinbruch.

Kleine, aber giftige Steigungen („Hellinge") erschweren sowohl beim Het Volk (UCI-Kategorie 1.HC) die 202 km lange Runde durch Flandern, als auch 24 Stunden später den 192 km lange Ritt von Kuurne nach Brüssel und zurück (UCI-Kategorie 1.1).

Vor allem die Strecke von Het Volk hat es in sich. „Die Muur oder Oude Kwaremont werden auch bei der Flandern-Rundfahrt gefahren und stellen hohe Ansprüche an das Feld", sagt Piva und verweist auf die zahlreichen Kopfsteinpflasterpassagen.

Eine wichtige Rolle hat in den vergangenen Jahren immer wieder das Wetter gespielt. Während 2005 bei kühlen Temperaturen und Schneetreiben nur die härtesten Radprofis das Ziel in Kuurne erreichten, musste vor zwei Jahren der Halbklassiker Het Volk sogar abgesagt werden. „Regen, Kälte, Schnee - die Rennen sind selten eine Freude. Aber hier zeigt sich, wer in der Vorbereitung gut gearbeitet hat", sagt Valerio Piva.

 

 
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