Tour de France - T-Mobile Team Announcement
Jan Ullrich satisfied with form and confident after the Tour du Suisse.
Guerini, Kessler, Sevilla and Sinkewitz In:
After casting a final look at their riders’ form at the just
concluded Tour de Suisse and Vuelta a Asturias, T-Mobile Team manager Olaf
Ludwig and Tour sporting director Rudy Pevenage have finalised their roster for
the 2006 Tour de France; Giuseppe Guerini, Matthias Kessler, Oscar Sevilla and
Patrik Sinkewitz have secured the last four places in the line-up.
The four now team up with the five riders, already nominated to the core roster
last January; Serhiy Honchar, Andreas Klöden, Eddy Mazzoleni, Michael Rogers and
Le Tour’ kicks-off on July 1 with a 7.1 km prologue time trial in Strasbourg
and concludes in Paris on July 23 after 20 stages and 3,654 km.
Oscar Sevilla - Asturias Winner "Pure Climber"
Olaf Ludwig admits that it wasn’t an easy decision to make. "We were
in the fortunate position to have a shortlist of 12 strong candidates to choose
from." Asturias overall winner Oscar Sevilla was the last to cement his
place in the line-up. "In the end we opted for another pure climber over a
so-called rouleur,“ explains Rudy Pevenage. Meanwhile, Italian Lorenzo Bernucci
will be on stand-by as first reserve to slot in should one of the nine nominees
make a late withdrawal.
This team "enjoys our 100 percent backing," says Ludwig, who doesn’t shrink
from setting out the team’s mission at the 2006 Tour, "With Jan Ullrich we are
bidding to win the overall.“ In addition, the team has already set a benchmark
by winning the Best Team Classification at the past two Tours.
"We are taking a fantastic team to the start line“, says Jan Ullrich in
praise of the eight team mates who will support his latest bid for a second
overall Tour win. The captain judges the team’s solid Giro and Tour de Suisse
campaigns as evidence of, "the great mood in the camp and the potential within
the team." He himself is, "extremely satisfied" with his form-building; the
overall win in Switzerland has given him "enormous self-confidence."
Team manager Ludwig believes Guerini, Kessler, Sevilla and Sinkewitz have
performed solidly in the last weeks and months. Furthermore, they have strengths
in different areas, making them ideal candidates for this year’s Tour effort.
Stephan Schreck and Sergey Ivanov were the other names on the Tour short-list
right up the final decision.
"They were in contention," says Ludwig. "But eventually we had to make the final
decision" Schreck, who made his Tour debut last year, has struggled to follow-up
on his solid 2005 season, while "Bernucci just about edged out Ivanov for the
reserve spot," says Pevenage.
Pevenage, Ludwig and captain Ullrich have huge belief in two riders, who, for
different reasons, have struggled to make a mark on the season so far: Andreas
Klöden and Eddy Mazzoleni. Ullrich is convinced that Klöden, Tour runner-up in
2004, will come good at the right time, "Andreas is a brick, he will find his
best form.” Ludwig shares the same faith in Klöden, "We will be able to count on
him when the Tour hits the mountains.“
Mazzoleni, who since January has been assured of his place in the roster, has
been able to make the Tour de France the front and centre of his entire season
planning. Manager Ludwig is also convinced that recent results are firm proof of
the golden crop of talented young riders at the team’s disposal. "Bernhard Kohl
and Linus Gerdemann have been in fantastic form recently; with an eye on the
future that is of course very pleasing." The duo aren’t at the Tour, but will
expect to be in the mix at the next big races on their programs. Austria’s Kohl
will be hoping to make a bright start to his home tour (July 3 to 9), while
Gerdemann will be keen to make his mark on the Deutschland-Tour (August 1 to 9).
2006 Tour de France Team Roster:
Giuseppe Guerini (36/Italy)
Serhiy Honchar (35/Ukraine)
Matthias Kessler (27/Germany)
Andreas Klöden (30/ Germany)
Eddy Mazzoleni (32/Italy)
Michael Rogers (26/Australia)
Patrik Sinkewitz (25/ Germany)
Oscar Sevilla (30/Spain)
Jan Ullrich (32/ Germany)
Reserve: Lorenzo Bernucci