Olaf Ludwig is 46 years old, rode professionally for six years (bringing in 50 victories, an Olympic gold medal, the Tour de France sprinter's jersey and a World Cup), and worked in management for T-Mobile Team for an additional ten years, the last year as Team Manager - but all of that came to an end on October 31. "T-Mobile wanted to go in a different direction as far as team management was concerned, they had other ideas, and so the contract was canceled," he said bluntly. How did this all come about? Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer spoke with Ludwig about T-Mobile and what went wrong.
After all the problems this year, Ludwig is ready for a short break from pro cycling. He denied rumors that he will be joining another team or even starting his own team. "It is clear that there will be rumors. I have a good relationship with [former team manager Walter] Godefroot. I am not going to Astana and have no plans to start a new team in 2007."
There had been speculation that he would retain T-Mobile's ProTour license and use it to start a new team, but contrary to public perception, Ludwig himself never held a ProTour license. The license for 2005 and 2006 was held by Godefroot, and expires the end of December. Ludwig noted that he applied to the UCI in May 2006 for a license for 2007 - 2010. The UCI's deadline was August 20, and by that date, T-Mobile had changed management over to Bob Stapleton who received the license, leaving Ludwig without a main sponsor.
Even if he wanted to plan a new team, he saw the difficulties. "Things in sport aren't easy, if you were looking for sponsors in August. Right now I'm very disappointed, I need to think about things and take a short break."
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