By Susan Westemeyer
The stomach problems that are sweeping through the peloton in California hit Team Gerolsteiner with a vengeance on Thursday. The team lost more than half of its riders on the day. "There's not much good to report, unfortunately," said Directeur Sportif Michael Rich. Oliver Zaugg and Bernhard Kohl both rode well on the day, "but when you lose five riders, then it's not funny."
Heinrich Haussler, Fabian Wegmann and Johannes Fröhlinger didn't even start, and Matthias Frank dropped out during the stage, all due to stomach problems. Sprinter Paco Wrolich also dropped out, but he had other problems, having fallen on his face in a crash. "He had to have six stitches on his temple," Rich said.
That leaves the team with Zaugg, Kohl and Markus Zberg in the race, and they will have to do the best they can with the situation. "That's not so easy. You have to take care of everything yourself, and that takes a lot of energy," Rich noted. "But despite everything, we will continue to do our best."