Gerolsteiner's young talent Markus Fothen will make the Tour of Germany in August his second major season goal. Fothen recently finished the Giro d'Italia in 12th position, an impressive result in his first grand tour. Fothen, who was suffering from a heavy cold in the final stages of the Giro, will spend the next few weeks recovering from his efforts. He will miss the Tour de France, but hopes to be on the start line there in 2006.
"I have said a few times in recent days how great my respect for the Tour is," said Fothen. "The world's best riders are at the start there and I expect I would pull out after 10 days. Therefore, we have planned my first start in the Grande Boucle for the year 2006."
Fothen consulted with team doctor Dr. Ernst Jacob on Friday morning, and will now discuss his upcoming program with team director Christian Henn. "A start in the team time trial on June 19 in Holland could be good as the first outing after the Giro," said Fothen. "And after that my program will be aligned towards the Tour of Germany. There I want to be in very good form again."