By Susan Westemeyer
The unofficial T-Mobile training camp in Capetown, South Africa, is in full swing, according to Matthias Kessler. In a diary on the team's website, he says that he, Jan Ullrich and Andreas Klöden are in the saddle for up to five hours daily and are exploring the area's mountains. However, the classics specialists, including Steffen Wesemann, Andre Korff and Olaf Pollack, are riding an hour more, because "they have to be in top form early in the year."
The mood is good, and the weather is even better, he reports - 28° and sunny. And the riders don't spend all their time on their bikes - last week there was a party to celebrate Ullrich's 32nd birthday. The team wants to make sure that the guys don't take it too easy, though, so Directeur Sportif Rudy Pevenage will be joining the group. "We'll be stepping up the training in the next few days."
Meanwhile, Pevenage is already planning his Tour de France team. "I need a very particular type of rider for the Tour," he told the German Welt newspaper. "Most of all, it has to be someone who is a friend and is willing to sacrifice himself for Jan Ullrich." In addition, it has to be someone who is either a mountain expert of is willing "to give his all" chasing and closing gaps for Ullrich. He favours Andreas Klöden and newcomers Serguei Gonchar, Michael Rogers and Eddy Mazzoleni. "Matthias Kessler and Stefan Schreck also have a chance. I want to see how they perform," said Pevenage. "No rider will be automatically nominated."