By Susan Westemeyer
It was one of those "good news, bad news" weekends for Team Gerolsteiner. They won the leader's jersey in Paris-Nice on Thursday, only to lose it on Sunday, and took the leader's jersey in Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday, only to lose it on Monday. Nonetheless, the team and the riders involved all proclaimed that they were satisfied.
In Paris-Nice, where Davide Rebellin wore the leader's jersey for three difficult days, was made even more difficult by the fact that on Sunday's final stage there were only three teammates left to help. The other half of the team had all dropped out earlier, having worn themselves out working for Rebellin. "After all that hard work, they just didn't have anything left," said Director Sportif Udo Bölts, adding, "They gave everything they had on the difficult stages."
Rebellin was second in the final classification. "There's nothing to complain about. Contador was the strongest rider in the field," said Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer. "Davide showed that he is one of the greats in cycling." The Italian was also happy with his performance. "He was quite relaxed about it and saw it as a good omen," continued Holczer.
Over in Italy, Stefan Schumacher won the time trial on Sunday to take over the leader's jersey in Tirreno-Adriatico. "That was a super performance," said Director Sportif Christian Henn. "We're enjoying the moment and we will try to defend the jersey."
The moment to enjoy turned out to be a short one, and the defence didn't work. On Monday afternoon, Astana's Andreas Klöden proved to have the better legs in the mountains, and took over the lead. Schumacher dropped down to fourth overall.
But he was not terribly disappointed. "Sure, it's too bad when you have to give up the leader's jersey. But I wanted to see here what I could do. And I could do it," Schumacher said. "I can be satisfied with that."