Elk Haus Simplon has completed its roster for the coming season. The Austrian Professional Continental Team will go into the new year with 16 riders, including four newcomers.
"We have a strong team again for 2008," said team manager Bernhard Rassinger. "We have high expectations based on our successes of the last years. And I am convinced that we will be able to continue with the performances that we have had."
Two Austrians are joining the team for 2008, 29 year-old Gerhard Trampusch and 19 year-old Daniel Schorn. Trampusch has ridden with Team Telekom and Team Gerolsteiner before moving down to the GS-II level. He started for Team Volksbank last season, but the team released him at the end of July, citing "behaviour contrary to provisions in his contract". The Schorn is a neo-pro who this season rode for ARC-KTM-Junkers-Team.
The other two newcomers are Germans Steffan Radchola and Björn Thurau. Radochla, a 29 year-old sprinter, rode in 2007 for Team Wiesenhof-Felt which is closing its doors at year's end. During his career Radochla has won stages in the Tour of Austria, the Sachsen Tour and the Rheinland-Pfalz Tour.
Thurau, who turned pro this year with the German Continental Team Atlas-Romer's Hausbäckerei, is one of the promising young German talents. The 19 year-old is the son of Didi Thurau, who was the dominant German cyclist in the 70s and 80s, winning, for example, five stages of the Tour de France 1977.
The team will divide for two training camps in January, with one group of riders on Mallorca and the other group on Gran Canaria. The team's first race of the season will be the GP Costa degli Etruschi on February 9. The season highlight will be the Tour of Austria, but it also has hopes of a wild-card invitation to the Giro d'Italia.
Elk Haus Simplon for 2008: Stefan Rucker, Jochen Summer, Wolfgang Murer, Robert Lauscha, Stefan Denifl, Thomas Rohregger, Harald Starzengruber, Peter Pichler, Harald Totschnig, Jan Valach, Markus Eibegger, Clemens Fankhauser, Gerhard Trampusch, Björn Thurau, Steffen Radochla, and Daniel Schorn.