Kazakhstan national champion Alexandre Vinokourov will lead the T-Mobile charge at next week's Tour of Poland, using the race to fine-tune his form in the lead-up to the world road championships in Madrid on September 25.
For the 1,253 kilometre race, which crosses Poland from the Baltic Sea in the north to Poland's giant mountains in the southwest, Vino can count on the support of stage race specialists Matthias Kessler, Bram Schmitz and Stephan Schreck, as well as Classics men Steffen Wesemann and Sergey Ivanov. Rounding out the magenta line-up are Dutch neo-pro Bas Giling and Eric Baumann, the latter rider claiming overall victory in the sprinters' competition at last week's Tour of Britain, and is naturally the team's designated rider for bunch sprint showdowns.
Coming off the back of a solid overall team performance at the Tour of Britain, which saw the team win the team classification from Quick Step-Innergetic and Comunidad Valenciana, directeur-sportif Valerio Piva is confident that the same quintet can continue where they left off in Britain. "The five showed that even after a long season, they still have enough gas in the tank to leave their mark on this race," said Piva. "We will be working for Vino," added Giling, "Vino is our captain, and we will be working for him."
Sergey Ivanov is well acquainted with the Polish race, having won it outright back in 1998 in the colours of Belgian team Fram Frites. The current Russian champion is looking forward to another outing at what he judges to be a very well-organised race in front of a great cycling audience. "It is a quality race and I am delighted that it has gained ProTour status," said Ivanov, who renewed his contract with T-Mobile earlier this week.
Team roster: Eric Baumann, Bas Giling, Sergey Ivanov, Matthias Kessler, Bram Schmitz, Stephan Schreck, Alexander Vinokourov, Steffen Wesemann
Directeur-sportif: Valerio Piva