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The Milram team pours on the pace
Milram's Van Gerwen falls short of 2009 goals, ready for 2010 and sponsor search
Team Milram never thought that its ProTour licence for the coming year was in doubt, although team manager Gerry Van Gerwen admitted that the team didn't bring in enough victories this year.
"I was never worried that we would not get the ProTour licence renewed," van Gerwen told sportschau.de.
The only German ProTour team got good marks for its financing and ethics, but did poorly on the sporting aspects. "In this area they are surely behind expectations," said the UCI's ProTour manager Alain Rumpf.
At the start of the season, van Gerwen called for 25 victories for his team this year, but it has so far brought in only eight. "We didn't reach our goal, although we have the talent for it in our team," he said.
The UCI renewed Milram's ProTour licence for only one year, because the team has only one year left on its sponsoring contract with Nordmilch AG. Van Gerwen is already looking for a new sponsor.
"Germany is our top priority in our search," he said. The Dutchman knows, however, that it won't be easy, as he saw by the search for a new sponsor for team Gerolsteiner last year.
Milram started as an Italian team in 2006 under general manager Gianluigi Stanga, with van Gerwen as business manager. However, van Gerwen took over the ProTour licence from Stanga for the 2008 season, moving the team's headquarters to Germany and making it a German team. His daughter Marlies van Gerwen-Liebregts is now business manager and son-in-law Raoul Liebregts is personnel director and directeur sportif.
"We didn't make this enormous investment and put in our family capital, in order to shut down two years later," van Gerwen said.
Should the team have to fold, it would leave Germany without a ProTour team, or even a Professional Continental team.
"It would be very dramatic, if the team ends," said former Gerolsteiner rider and current Milram rider Fabian Wegmann. "We have built up a good structure in the last years in Germany and have a lot of good young riders. It would be too bad if they had to go to another country to ride."