By Susan Westemeyer
Team Gerolsteiner didn't win any of the Ardennes Classics this year, but the team management is satisfied with its team's performance. Team Manager Hans-Michael Holczer noted he was 'impressed' by his men's performances in the Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"We showed in all three races what the team can do," Holczer told Cyclingnews. "You can't always win, that's just the way the sport is. But I was especially impressed by our aggressive riding in Flèche and L-B-L."
Davide Rebellin, who won all three races in 2004 and Flèche Wallonne last year, proved to have the best record overall in the three races. He finished fourth in the Amstel Gold Race, sixth in Flèche Wallonne and second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège – and was never more than two seconds behind the winner.
Also impressive was Fabian Wegmann. The German Champion was 11th in Amstel, 45 seconds down, and 22d in Liège, 1'03" back. However, his most impressive moment came in Flèche Wallonne, where he broke for the lead with two other riders with 10 kilometres to go. He ended up suffering alone up the dreaded Mur de Huy in the pouring rain and was overtaken with only 500 metres to go. He ended 30th, 53 seconds down.
Stefan Schumacher, who last year won Amstel Gold, was unable to repeat his good performance this year. He finished 15th this year, and a crash in Flèche Wallonne took him out of contention for that race, in which, he said, "I did not feel so good in the finale." He joined a break in Liège with 30 kilometres to go, but was unable to hold on to it, and ended up finishing 6'42" down, in 60th place.
Sport Director Christian Henn told Cyclingnews, "Tactically our team did everything in the three races that we had discussed. That makes a directeur sportif a little proud, to be able to work with such a good team. The week in Holland and Belgium was, as always, worthwhile for our team."