Team T-Mobile is short of not only two riders and a directeur sportif at the Tour de France, they are also lacking a mechanic and a physiotherapist. Birgit Krohme, Jan Ullrich's personal physiotherapist, has also gone home after the team's leader was suspended on doping allegations. "Birgit is an excellent physiotherapist," said team manager Olaf Ludwig. "We would have loved to have her with us until Paris, but we can understand her decision." After the damaging events of the last days, Birgit Krohme needed a little time for herself, he added. The mechanic had family reasons to leave: Stefan Ullrich left Friday with his more famous brother.
On the sporting side, Andreas Klöden is happy that the race is finally under way. "At last we can fully focus on the sport again," the lean climber said. "That's important to get your head together again after all that went down." Klöden admitted that he had been nervous about how the Tour would be received in Germany on Sunday, but his fears turned out to have been needless. "The Tour made a brief 30km incursion into Germany today," he continued. "To be perfectly honest: I was a bit skeptical beforehand and not sure about how our home fans would react to us. But I have to say, I shouldn't have worried in the first place. But the enthusiasm alongside the road was huge, so I shouldn't have worried at all. That did us good!"
Fabian Wegmann is a happy camper. "So now I have it again, the mountain jersey," he said after Sunday's stage one around Strasbourg, which included one Cat. 4 climb about halfway, the Heiligenstein. "That's a pretty good feeling. And I must admit: I did sort of plan it that way. I knew I had to be in the group." Wegmann was part of an early breakaway and scored the points for the desired trophy. He was also pleased with the way in which Germany greeted the Tour. "The reception from the many fans in Germany gave me goose bumps,"Wegmann said. "It was great to be celebrated like that - despite the doping scandal."
As for the mountain jersey: "You could say that was planned," said Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "When we talked about it that morning and I saw the twinkle in Fabian's eyes, I knew what was up. And it worked out."