One thing is sure before the first one-day Classic race of the ProTour season: the riders from Gerolsteiner will arrive at the start of Milan-San Remo Saturday with a strong dose of self-confidence. With David Kopp, Heinrich Haussler and Markus Zberg, who just won the last stage of Paris-Nice, the team is sending three riders who have at least one victory so far this season. Directeur sportif Christian Henn added there is no need to worry about the other five riders, either, who he's sending to the 97th edition of the La Primavera.
Davide Rebellin, Fabian Wegmann and Andrea Moletta have shown their good form recently in Tirreno-Adriatico, and Stefan Schumacher did the same at Paris-Nice, with Peter Wrolich versatile as a strong helper or ambitious escapee. "We have several possibilities, and several options for each," Henn explained, adding, "The guys' motivation and self-confidence are very high." Henn wouldn't reveal exactly what the team's tactics for Milan-San Remo will be, partially because this depends on how the race develops. But the Gerolsteiner DS gave some hints as to how he could see things developing.
"If a group develops around Paolo Bettini, then we will have to try to have Davide and Fabian in that group," said Henn. The Olympic gold medallist (who is expected to start despite his bad crash in T-A), and Gerolsteiner could combine to snap the race away from the many sprinters, but for this to succeed, "you have to be in the right place at the right time," Henn conceded.
One key moment will be on the Cipressa, predicts Henn, the first of the climbs that is often a trouble spot for those not in top shape. The climb, which comes after 272.4 km, could divide the peloton into a gruppetto and the contenders. "In any case, we have a couple of jokers ready to play," says Henn. "And no matter what, you have to build up enough of an advantage to be in the leading group over the Poggio and to keep the followers behind you."
Riders: Heinrich Haussler, David Kopp, Andrea Moletta, Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher, Fabian Wegmann, Peter Wrolich, Markus Zberg. Directeur sportif: Christian Henn
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer