New T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig has hinted that he expects the team to be more successful in 2006. The 45-year-old former pro has worked as T-Mobile's spokesman for the last several years, before stepping into a team management role in 2005. With the departure of long-standing team manager Walter Godefroot, Ludwig will be in overall charge of the magenta team in 2006.
In an interview posted on the team's website, Ludwig said that the team's "goals remain the same in the future: We want to leave our mark on the Spring Classics, the Tour de France and the Deutschland-Tour. We have 29 riders in our team and apart from the Tour de France there are significantly more races we are capable of winning. The big Classics like Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Amstel Gold Race, the Tour of Flanders or Milan-San Remo come to my mind. My aim is to form a team, which will show determined performances in 2006 and race with passion."
Ludwig will be helped in that aim by Mario Kummer, who moves up from acting as a day-to-day directeur sportif to the role of sport and technical director, effectively making him Ludwig's second-in-command. "Mario Kummer fits the bill perfectly," said Ludwig "He will handle logistics and strategy, assigns the sporting directors, who in turn can commit themselves to their original job: Focusing on sport matters. I think, this ways we have a clear structure in the future, the positions are defined."
Ludwig says he is looking forward to the job. "Having had experience as a rider, team spokesman, sporting director and having worked in organisations and committees makes thing somewhat easier for me," he said. "By now I have developed an all-encompassing view of cycling. And that's a good place to start from and tackle the challenges ahead."
However, he doesn't seem to be planning to faithfully emulate Walter Godefroot's management style. "I don't want to be a tough cookie, neither do I want to be too soft," he said. "In other words, it's about striking the right balance and finding my own style. I'm still quite young, have even raced together with some riders in the peloton like Steffen Wesemann. I might make a mistake or two. But that's part of the game."