Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin is eager to make amends for his lost opportunities at the 2006 Northern Classics - caused by a stomach bug and an injured rib. Therefore, the king of Amstel Gold, Flèche and Liège of two years ago is especially keen on the first three stages of this year's Giro d'Italia to be staged in Southern Belgium. "Davide said he'd really like to ride the Giro," said Gerolsteiner's directeur sportif Christian Henn. "We want to try and achieve something with Davide at the beginning of the race."
Of course, the Italian climber also wants to make a good showing later on in Italy, but the stages from Perwez to Namur on May 8 and from Wanze to Hotton on the following day suit Rebellin's abilities. Once the event gets onto Italian soil, Gerolsteiner hopes for some good placings or even a surprise, just as in 2004 when Fabian Wegmann won the Giro mountains classification. "We don't have any tactical constraints," Henn continued. "We can take to the start without pressure, feeling free. But of course, a stage win would be great - I would organise a big party!" If Gerolsteiner scores a stage victory at the Giro d'Italia, the German team would have collected wins at every one of the three Grand Tours.
For Stefan Schumacher, the Giro will be a first, which is why there will be even fewer expectations of him. "Of course, we have to wait and see how he will come along," Henn said. "I don't really expect him to make a placing."