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Josef Benetseder (Vorarlberg - Corratec) leads the mountains classification.
Austrian team survived licence suspension, downgraded status
Team Vorarlberg-Corratec had a mixed year, with the win of the mountain jersey at the Tour of Austria one of several sporting highlights. But the Austrian team also had to suffer through the suspension of its team license and being knocked down to Continental status during the season.
"All in all it was a good sporting season,” summed up team manager Harald Morscher. The Tour of Austria mountain jersey went to Josef Benetseder, who also won a stage at the Oberösterreichrundfahrt. He has been with the team since 2006.
"Winning the mountain jersey in such a top race as the Tour of Austria , which is also our season highlight, was an especially moving moment,” Morscher said. “Especially in light of the difficult circumstances under which we started the race.”
The “difficult circumstances” were due to the International Cycling Union suspending the team's Professional Continental licence the middle of June because of problems with riders' contracts.
The riders were employed through a personnel leasing firm, rather than through a “paying agent” for the team, usually the team license holder. Ultimately the UCI restored the team's license but downgraded it to Continental status. Team manager Thomas Kofler was made assistant team manger, with Morscher and Gregor Gut taking over management duties.
The team then went into the remainder of the season with a reduced roster, as a number of riders chose to leave, including the team's biggest name, Rene Haselbacher.
According to Morscher, that helped to pull the team together. “Some of them came to understand what it is all about. The morale at the Tour of Austria was impressive.”
Other achievements include the overall titles in the Tchibo Top Rad Liga (an Austrian series), and the Austrian Rad-Bundesliga.
Vorarlberg-Corratec was also active and successful outside of its homeland. “The season started well, with podium places in Langkawi and good results at the hard races in Italy. No matter on which continent our riders were at the start, they showed the fans through their offensive and exciting riding style that cycling is fun.”
Plans are already underway to continue the team's success in 2011, although Morscher is dropping the traditional team building at the start of December. “We need the time to lay a solid foundation for our work in 2011,” he said.