The T-Mobile team is bringing a mix of young and experienced riders to the new ProTour team time trial in Eindhoven, Netherlands, on June 19. The race will be a home game for the Dutchmen Bas Giling and Bram Schmitz. Especially Schmitz is looking forward to the competition.
"I live only five kilometres away from the course in Aalst-Waalre. There will surely be many friends coming to cheer us on," he said. Six riders will tackle the 48,6 km loop on Sunday at 2 p.m. Apart from the duo Giling/Schmitz T-Mobile directeur sportif Valerio Piva pins his hopes on young gun Marcus Burghardt, Torsten Hiekmann as well as the sprint specialists André Korff and Olaf Pollack. Neo-pro Marcus Burghardt expects a high-speed race on the pancake flat motorway course. "It can get as fast as 60 km/h at the max," said Burghardt with regards to the profile.
Bram Schmitz, who bagged his first season win for the squad in early June at the Tour de Luxembourg, doesn't consider his team as contenders for the podium as the race on his home ground is more of a "training under race conditions" according to him.
A total of 25 teams will be participating. Apart from the 20 ProTour teams, the organisers have given five wildcards to other squads. The fans alongside the course may even see Lance Armstrong perform - the American is on the provisional roster of his Discovery Channel team. As for Liquigas-Bianchi, the Italian team has announced the following line-up: Magnus Bäckstedt, Marcus Ljungqvist, Mauro Gerosa, Devis Miorin, Marco Righetto and Gianluca Sironi.
Bäckstedt, the "Engine" as he is called by his team, will be the captain of the squad. "I'm not yet at the top of my condition," he said, aiming especially at a good Tour de France. "But I think that on Sunday our team will be competitive. In team time trials it’s not enough to have strong riders: it’s also important to get on well together and that’s exactly what we do."
Directeur sportif Roberto Damiani will lead the Italian team in Holland after one week’s training camp in Salsomaggiore Terme. "We have worked hard to get ready to this trial requiring specific training. Next Sunday we will see the results of our work," he said.