The T-Mobile team has announced its roster for the Regio Tour which starts tomorrow, Wednesday August 10 and runs until Sunday, August 14. Veteran rouleur Rolf Aldag will lead an otherwise relatively inexperienced seven-man team for the 728km journey through the rolling hills of south western Germany.
Aldag will have one other T-Mobile veteran at his side in 29-year-old 29-year-old Sergey Yakovlev who was recently second in the queen stage of Tour de la Region Wallonne.
Otherwise, though, the roster shows T-Mobile wheeling out some of its younger riders and stagiaires. Torsten Hiekmann (25), Austrian climbing specialist Bernhard Kohl (23) and Marcus Burghardt (22) are the younger T-Mobile team members for Regio. They will be joined by stagiaires Carlo Westphal (19), and Paul Martens (21).
Martens, with a background mostly on the track, showed that he has successfully managed the transition to road racing by winning the German U23 time trial championships in June. Westphal, a 1.81m all-rounder, currently leads the German national rankings for amateurs.
"The duo will be there, first and foremost, to gain experience of pro cycling. They won't be integrated into our tactical plans, so they will have a free hand to ride their own race," said T-Mobile directeur sportif for the Regio Tour Valerio Piva.
Piva will be looking to Torsten Hiekmann to contend for the general classification. "The profile suits him," said Piva. "It offers him a chance to show what he can do." T-Mobile won two stages of last year's race, with Alexandre Vinokourov taking the overall. This year Piva says he will be "satisfied with a stage win".
T-Mobile believes the crux of this year's Regio Tour is likely to be stage 4's 12.3km mountain time trial from Waldkirch to Kandel, with 1,000m altitude difference between start and finish. "This climb will prove crucial," says Piva.