Jan Ullrich will make his 2005 German debut this Saturday in the GP Schwarzwald. With his eyes set firmly on the Tour de France, Ullrich will use the race as an opportunity to fine-tune his climbing skills under race conditions. Two weeks ago, the 31 year-old showed form in the Volta a Catalunya, where he finished 18th overall. With five weeks remaining until the Tour starts on July 2, Ullrich's focus is now on developing his climbing potential to the max. Thus, riding one of the most demanding German one-day races with a mountainous circuit around Triberg seems appropriate. Seven 23.2 km laps for a total of 4,000 m in altitude gain and an overall distance of 162,4 km roughly equals the demands of a mountain stage at the Grand Boucle.
Alongside Ullrich, young talent Marcus Burghardt returns back to racing after a short break in his otherwise fully packed spring racing schedule. The same goes for Stephan Schreck, who rode with Ullrich in Catalunya. Rounding out the T-Mobile roster are the experienced André Korff, Daniele Nardello, Tobias Steinhauser and Steffen Wesemann.
Sergey Yakovlev, who finished fifth in 2004 as the best T-Mobile pro and the 2003 winner, Torsten Hiekmann, will not compete at the GP Schwarzwald. Instead the duo will ride the Dauphiné Libéré (June 5-12).
T-Mobile will also be in action in tomorrow's ProTour stage race, the Tour de Luxembourg, with a seven man line up. The team will focus on its sprinters Olaf Pollack and Eric Baumann, who will aim for a stage win. For Pollack it is the first race after his abandon in the Giro d'Italia. "The troubles caused by a light concussion like nausea, dizziness and headaches are gone by now," said Pollack. "So I am looking forward to my next race in Luxembourg."
Lining up with the two sprinters are Dutch duo Bram Schmitz and Bas Giling, and German veteran Rolf Aldag, who is coming back from a broken arm sustained in La Flèche Wallonne in April. "I will take things slowly at my first race after the injury," said Aldag.
Rounding out the roster for Luxembourg are Sergey Ivanov and Andreas Klier, the latter also on the recovery road after crashing in Gent-Wevelgem and suffering concussion. "I'm not back at 100 percent yet," said Klier. "In Bavaria it went better day by day. Training is already okay and with more race kilometres in my legs I will get in shape for the autumn classics."
The Tour de Luxembourg was first run in 1935. Apart from two interruptions in 1940 and 1944 for the Second World War, the race has been held continuously.