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Gerdemann, Ciolek and co must improve
In response to a disappointing 2009 Team Milram is restructuring, with Christian Henn moving from Sport Director to a more management position, responsible for race analysis and race planning. Directeur Sportif and former rider Ralf Grabsch will take over as Sport Director.
Henn denied that he had been moved upstairs or demoted in any way and that the new role would benefit the team’s goals. "It is the best for me, when we work together to make structural improvements," he told Radsport-News.com. "I will be with the team as much as before, but in a more analytical role. This is a change which should be the basis for a successful season in 2010."
Another change will be that team will race less in than in 2009, Henn said. "As it now looks, we will have some 30 to 40 few race days."
The riders will start their training in November, and will face "a harder preparation." Those riders who will start in the season's first race, the Tour Down Under (January 17-24) will train specifically for that race. "With these changes we hope to get some early successes, which will give a push to the whole team," Henn said.
This year the team based its hopes on co-captains Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek. Ciolek brought in two wins, the Trofeo Calvia of the Mallorca Challenge in February and stage two of the Vuelta a Espana. He had hoped to do well in the Spring Classics, but a lingering illness put an end to those hopes.
Gerdemann's only win on the year was the overall title in the Bayern Rundfahrt, which he took without any stage wins. After finishing seventh in Tirreno-Adriatico and winning Bayern, he moved on to his season targets, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. However Gerdemann struggled in the mountains in both races, finishing 41st in Switzerland and 24th in France.
When team manager Gerry van Gerwen announced the 2010 line-up and other changes earlier this month, he said that, "We will no longer ride races just for the sake of it, but to bring in good performances." He indicated that training will be tougher and that results will be expected from all riders, with many observers seeing the comments aimed towards Gerdemann.
Henn was optimistic that things would be better next season. There were many new riders, who simply need time to learn to ride together, and many young riders, who need time to develop. He looked to Johannes Fröhlinger, 24, who "can take a big step next year", after a good 2009, with a third place in the GP Schwarzwald and third in a Tour stage. “We have some young riders with a lot of talent.”