Three Austrians are heading to Spain for the Vuelta, each for a different team. And each is going into the race with different expectations.
Française des Jeux' Bernhard Eisel is looking for success. "At any rate, I speculate with a stage win. How it turns out may be a different story. But my team will be working for me." That stage win had better come early, though: "I don't yet know how long I will ride. Either ten days or two weeks. I'll decide from day to day." (www.eisel.com)
Gerolsteiner's René Haselbacher wouldn't mind a stage win, either. "In any case I will try to bring in a day's success," he said. "I see the Vuelta on one hand as preparation for my homeland World's, but it not simply a training race. It is still the third biggest stage race in the world." Having ridden the Vuelta last year, he said, he knows that "the Vuelta means a three-week fight for survival." (www.haselbacher.com)
The third Austrian is T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl, who has slightly different expectations other than a stage win or simple survival. "Actually I was planning to go for a stage win." But then he was made team captain. "Now I will of course try to ration my strength well. I want to finish as far ahead in the GC as I can. The Vuelta is a particular challenge. It will be difficult to bring consistently good performance in those three weeks of heat in Spain. But I will give everything I have."
He also thanked his team for making his cap tin, especially in light of the fact that he has already announced that he is leaving T-Mobile after this season. "This experience is very important for my future. You can't always take it for granted, to be given an assignment like this so soon before a team change." (www.bernhardkohl.at)