By Susan Westemeyer in Dortmund, Germany
Milram team manager Gerry van Gerwen described the difficult process he went through in order to facilitate Linus Gerdemann's transfer from Team Columbia to Milram at a press conference on Thursday. "When a Dutchman and an American negotiate, then it lasts a long time!", he said.
The process was long, but van Gerwen said there was "good harmony" between Milram and Gerdemann from the beginning. After the Tour de France, he started talks with Columbia's Bob Stapleton, with the possible transfer apparently a surprise to the American.
In the end, there were four contracts: a non-interference contract between van Gerwen and Stapleton; a termination agreement between Gerdemann and Stapleton; a three-part contract between van Gerwen, Stapleton, and Gerdemann; and finally the contract bringing Gerdemann to Milram.
Van Gerwen thought it wouldn't work out. "But as a stubborn Dutchman I had to get my way. I am unbelievably happy."
Gerdemann to take over Grand Tour leadership
Gerdemann and fellow German and Columbia teammate Gerald Ciolek come to Milram as its new captains. After Alessandro Petacchi's firing last spring, the captain's role was taken over by Christian Knees, who won the Bayern Rundfahrt and finished 28th in the Tour de France.
There won't be a problem with him turning over the role of GC candidate, though. "[Knees] is still very important," van Gerwen told Cyclingnews. "He can do two things – he is good in the mountains, so he can help Linus Gerdemann, and he is strong on the flat, so can help Gerald Ciolek."
The 27-year-old will also continue to fulfil an important function. "He will continue to be our road captain, to coordinate and delegate," van Gerwen added.
Gerdemann also does not see any conflict. "Christian and I get along well and rode together in an amateur team," he told Cyclingnews. "I don't think there will be any problem with Christian, he will have his races where he can ride for himself and where I will support him."