By Susan Westemeyer
In 2006 the name was Wiesenhof-Akud and the team was based in Essen, Germany. In 2007 the German Professional Continental Team will be called Weisenhof-Felt and will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany. The new name co-sponsor, Felt, is an American bike manufacturer, and is sponsoring a team for the first time. Also new to the field is the city of Karlsruhe as a co-sponsor, specifically through the Messe Karlsruhe, the city's convention center. Team Manager Raphael Schweda sees the new sponsors in a positive light, calling it "a sign that the sponsors are staying with us and with cycling."
Sports Manager Jens Heppner says the team will continue to develop young talent. "It's normal that they then go in another direction," he admits. Next season the youngsters on the team will profit from the presence of veteran Steffen Wesemann, like Heppner a former member of the T-Mobile team. "That will be a real challenge for me," Weseman says. He may be joined by yet another T-Mobile teammate, sprinter Olaf Pollack, who is considering an offer from Weisenhof.
And yet another new name pops up. Ronny Lauke will become the team's new Directeur Sportif, replacing Jochen Hahn. Hahn, in turn, is looking to found his own Continental Team with twelve riders, and while he hopes to work closely with Wiesenhof, he has his own sponsors and plans. "Akud has agreed to be a sponsor. I will concentrate solely on young riders like German junior champion Dominik Roels," Hahn says.