Rumours that Olaf Ludwig and Mario Kummer will lose their place within the T-Mobile team continue to grow, with German daily Bild today elaborating upon the stories which surfaced over the weekend.
Although the squad has itself played down the suggestions that Ludwig, the general manager, and team manager Kummer will be shown the door, the paper states that growing dissatisfaction amongst the riders about the management means that the relationships are no longer sustainable. Andreas Klöden is known to have been unhappy with some of the tactical decisions made during the race. He finished just 1'29 off race winner Floyd Landis and 32" off the second place of Oscar Pereiro, who lost a lot of time in the Pyrenees but gained 29'57 on stage 13 to Montélimar.
"The fact that I even beat Floyd Landis in this time trial makes me even more happy, but I sort of have mixed feelings right now," Klöden told Cyclingnews on Saturday. "It's great that I jumped on the final podium, but if we would have had a better tactical performance, the second placing would have surely been doable."
He elaborated on this in a post-Tour reception head at T-Mobile's corporate headquarters in Bonn, Germany, early on Monday. "With a little luck, I could have done more," he said. "It bugs me, that it was third place, the second spot was surely reachable. We missed our chance."
Who missed it exactly, the riders or the team management? "Mistakes were made by both," he answered. "The riders make the race but the those who sit in the team auto make the tactics."
Although T-Mobile took third overall and were best in the team's classification, Bild says that the sponsors will pull their support from Ludwig, who earlier this year applied for a ProTour licence extension through his company Olaf Ludwig Cycling gmbh.
Kummer was promoted to the role of sport and technical director last year. A T-Mobile press release issued on September 20th 2005 said that he would be "charged with developing and deciding team strategy and logistics."
According to today's newspaper article, the dissatisfaction has been brewing all season and now the sponsors have decided it is time for a change.
Bob Stapleton, who has been on the sponsor T-Mobile's board since August 2001 and manages the successful women's team, is tipped to succeed Ludwig. His High Road Sports sports marketing and management company may be the vehicle to take over the ProTour licence. The sporting leader is expected to be Rolf Aldag who, together with Stapleton, is already acting as an adviser to the team.