By Paul Verkuylen
T-Mobile director Rolf Aldag is banking on Axel Merckx to lead his troops for the remainder of the Tour de France. Merckx's rise to the helm follows on from the squad's leader, Michael Rogers, departure from the event, having crashed out on Sunday's Stage 8.
The team now need to improvise in order to save its Tour de France campaign, as the last few days has seen the team experience the extreme highs and lows of the three week event. Linus Gerdemann took victory on Stage 7, as well as the yellow and white jerseys. The following day designated team leader Michael Rogers the virtual yellow jersey on the event's first tough mountains stage when he crashed out.
By the time T-Mobile had got to dinner that evening it had also lost Patrick Sinkewitz, who crashed into a spectator after the stage while riding to the squad's hotel.
To cap off a bad run, on Stage 8, with 13 days remaining on the Tour, Gerdemann lost his lead in the white jersey competition while teammate Marcus Burghardt hit a dog, sending him over the handlebars.