By Susan Westemeyer and Torsten Holz
The new German Continental team Thüringer Energie Team presented itself to the public yesterday, with a surprise - the team will also work closely with Team T-Mobile, to develop young riders for the Pro Tour team.
The team also has its own goals, such as winning the team ranking in the U-23 Bundesliga and going for individual victories. The team hopes, naturally, to do well in the Thüringen Rundfahrt, with one or more podium places in mind. The Continental Tour licence enables the team to participate in the Europe Tour, which will let the team gather important experience, and perhaps a win or two. The most important race in this series is the EON Hainleite (formerly TEAG Hainleite) in August, which is held in the team's hometown of Erfurt, Germany.
"The engagement is the logical consequence of our increased emphasis on young riders," said T-Mobile Team Manager Olaf Ludwig, who looks to the "responsibility for the future of cycling." Both sides will benefit when his team works with "one of the best U-23 teams."
"The jump to a professional team like T-Mobile at the age of 21 or 22 is just too early for most riders," said Ludwig. This way, the team can "park them for one or two years by the Energie team". In return, T-Mobile will help the team find sponsors and provide its know-how, for example providing time trial bikes or wind tunnel testing. "But definitely no money will change hands," said Ludwig.
Ludwig noted that the Thüringer team has proved its worth by providing current pros Stephan Schreck, Eric Baumann, Patrik Sinkewitz, Thomas Ziegler, Andre Greipel and Sebastian Lang.
Click here for the full team roster