On the hilly parcours of the Clasica Almeria, a one day-race totaling 173,4 km with start and finish in the Southern Spanish city of Almeria, the peloton will face three Cat. 3 climbs next Sunday. While T-Mobile's directeurs sportifs figure that the conditions are ideal for a breakaway's victory - just like last year, when French Jerome Pineau took the sprint of an escape group - team Gerolsteiner takes the view that the race should end in a bunch sprint. "It's a terrain that suits Danilo Hondo," said Gerolsteiner's DS Raimund Dietzen. "We have to see to it that the race finishes in a sprint, if our riders can't manage to breakaway in the right group."
A team of eight will start for Gerolsteiner in Almeria, but T-Mobile will only have five riders taking part. "Initially, we had considered Tobias Steinhauser and Paco Lara," said T-Mobile Team spokesman Luuc Eisenga. "However, Tobias hasn't recovered from his flu and Paco crashed at the Tour of Valencia. His injuries aren't too bad, but a start at Almeria isn't an option yet."
Giuseppe Guerini, one of the team's climbers, will lead the reduced T-Mobile squad, completed by young guns Bernhard Kohl, Marcus Burghardt and Bas Giling, as well as Sergey Yakovlev. "It won't be easy for our riders. But our new riders are hot, and together with the experienced pros Guerini and Yakovlev they might spring a little surprise," says Eisenga.
Gerolsteiner at Clasica Almeria: Robert Förster, Danilo Hondo, Frank Høj, Sven Krauss, Sebastian Lang, Sven Montgomery, Matthias Russ, Peter Wrolich.
T-Mobile: Giuseppe Guerini, Bernhard Kohl, Marcus Burghardt, Bas Giling, Sergey Yakovlev.
Illes Balears: David Arroyo, José Luis Carrasco, Sergi Escobar, Isaac Gálvez, Chente García, Iván Gutiérrez, Cayetano Julià, Vladimir Karpets.