By Hedwig Kröner in Bonn
When the biggest German mobile telephony company invites the press to a marketing event, one can be sure what to expect: A headquarters reception inside a huge exhibition hall, where a specially designed grandstand provides enough seats for the assembled media to get a good view of what is about to be spotlighted. This is what happened in Bonn at the presentation of the 2005 T-Mobile cycling team today, and the show was well staged, as always.
Managers Walter Godefroot and Olaf Ludwig introduced a team with many qualities, but the top priority for this year's season is once again the overall victory of the Tour de France. "Bigger, better and faster" is the motto for starting the ProTour, which requires even more means than were deployed already - so T-Mobile chose to withdraw sponsorship for its mountain bike team at the end of 2004, sign more riders for its road team, take on additional employees and decided to have up younger talents program. "With 27 riders, we have enough to schedule three racing programmes for this season," explained Ludwig, who will take full responsibilities for the team management in 2006, when Godefroot retires.
With 27 riders of such class, T-Mobile's numerous directeurs sportifs Mario Kummer, Frans Van Looy, Valerio Piva, Brian Holm and Giovanni Fidanza will have a versatile squad at their disposal to play a major role in all kinds of races on the upcoming calendar. To begin with, the spring classics, where Steffen Wesemann will try to defend his Tour of Flanders victory of last year, and maybe make his dream of Paris-Roubaix come true.