Australian Michael Rogers will lead the T-Mobile team for the Circuit de la Sarthe, April 4-7. Team leader Jan Ullrich was scheduled to make his long-awaited return to racing when the race rolls out of Mouilleron-Le-Captif today, but he is sidelined with an irritation in the right knee, "which, on medical grounds, rules out racing," says team doctor Andreas Schmid.
Rogers plans to use the four-day race to further build up his form after performing well in the recent Settimana Coppi e Bartali. He will be supported by his compatriot Scott Davis, the Ukrainian time trial specialist Serhiy Honchar, Dutchman Bas Giling, neo pro Frantisek Rabon and André Korff. The 32-year old is expected to put his fast legs to good use in the possible sprint finales. "The terrain is predominantly flat, tailor-made for breaks and sprints," said T-Mobile directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage.
Pevenage expects the crux of the four days to be the final stage which includes a 300m, 18 percent climb that the riders will tackle several times. "Here, another GC shakeup is possible," says Pevenage.