By Susan Westemeyer
Andreas Klier will be a happy man on New Year's Eve - the German will be happy to say goodbye to 2006, a year that absolutely didn't turn out the way the T-Mobile rider had hope it would.
"The season started for me with a personal record, but one that I would gladly not have had," the T-Mobile rider wrote on the team's website. "In the Mallorca Challenge and the Ruta del Sol I crashed four times - as often in two weeks as in the last eight years!
"My crash injuries weren't really bad, but they affected my development for the Classics so much, that my form at Het Volk was unacceptable," he continued. However, things improved over the spring and "I was one hundred percent fit for my season highlight, the Ronde von Vlaanderen..."
But once again things didn't work out as expected. Klier purposely didn't attack in Valkenburg, because of the headwind. He waited and attacked a few kilometres later, when there was side wind. "That was my plan. Unfortunately it didn't work out, because we were unable to catch the escapees."
His last chance to save the season was the World's. "I knew that I would ride it if I did well in the Benelux and Poland Tours." And what happened? On the first stage of the Benelux Tour, "I crashed and fell on my head: concussion! My fifth crash of the season, and the end of my season."
Klier still noted that while his season was one to forget, the year itself was a good one. "Our daughter Emma was born in January, a healthy baby. And this is more important to me than winning all five Classics."