By Susan Westemeyer
For the last few years T-Mobile has started its season with the GP Doha and the Tour of Qatar, but this year the team will do things differently, kicking off the season in France with the GP Marseillaise and the Etoile de Besseges "We chose a slightly different season start this year. We haven't started these two races in a long time," said Team Manager Olaf Ludwig, noting that he is convinced that sprinter Olaf Pollack will do well there. Another new move for the team was the announcement of the preselected Tour de France squad Ludwig said that this will help the riders. "They can now pointedly and concentratedly prepared themselves for their season highlight." But the team selection is not absolute, he says. "The other pros still have a chance."
Two of those nominated to the "larger" Tour squad are Stefan Schreck and Matthias Kessler, both of whom came to the team from the former Junior Team Telekom. Ludwig noted that the team hopes to continue this success with the development program that it started last year. The program does not restrict itself to young German riders but looks internationally "to find and especially to support and challenge" young riders. He notes the importance of young pros such as Linus Gerdemann, Patrik Sinkewitz and Andre Greipel, saying "the future belongs to them and they are our future." But, he added, "one must not forget the experienced pros in a team like ours. They can show the youngsters the right way."