T-Mobile has created a development programme to bring forward a talented group of international riders and support them with the planning, supervision and testing of their training activities. Intense scouting has unearthed four talented young riders, who will now enter the programme initially planned to run over a period of two years: the three Britons Geraint Thomas (18/Junior World Champion 2004 in scratch), Ian Stannard (19/National Junior Time Trial Champion) and Kristian House (24), as well as the Czech rider Martin Mares (22).
The development riders will be invited to attend training camps, performance tests and races together with the T-Mobile pro riders. The experienced Heiko Salzwedel will act as trainer. The 47 year-old has previously coached top Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen, elite German rider Jens Voigt and he was also national team manager of the British World Class Performance Programme. Salzwedel is currently responsible for coaching development with the UCI and is consultant to the Danish and Chinese national squads.
Salzwedel will monitor the talented young riders from a distance; the riders will e-mail him their SRM system generated training data, such as heart rate and lactate values. Salzwedel will evaluate these values to formulate training plans that will guide and progress the riders. He will also collaborate closely with club or national coaches and follow the riders’ competitive performances.
T-Mobile-Team manager Olaf Ludwig views the initiative as an ideal model for sourcing and nurturing a new generation of riders with strong potential. "A young rider needs to follow and adapt to professional training and behaviour patterns before he signs his first professional contract with a ProTour team," he said, adding, "This programme will gradually introduce the riders to higher performance requirements, thus, better preparing them to meet the demands of top professional racing."
The quartet from England, Wales and the Czech Republic will get their first taste of professional cycling when they join the T-Mobile Team training camp on Majorca for a few days in January. "The lads already rank among the best performers in their national teams," Heiko Salzwedel said. "Riding for a pro team is a different ball game, however, but the young riders can learn a lot when they go on training rides with the T-Mobile Team."