The T-Mobile Team is bringing a weakened roster to Sunday's 89th edition of the Tour of Flanders. Besides the Dutchman Bram Schmitz, who was the victim of a crash during the Driedaagse van De Panne, the magenta team will also have to cope without the services of Daniele Nardello in Flanders, as back problems have forced the experienced Italian to miss the ProTour race.
Steffen Wesemann won the race last year and he will be back to spearhead the eight man T-Mobile team this year. Supporting him is Andreas Klier, a Flanders resident and an experienced man on the cobbled roads of the region. The two classics specialists have been focussing their preparations on De Ronde and have hit form at the right time.
T-Mobile's directeur sportif Mario Kummer is playing down the team's chances. "Unfortunately we can't send our best roster into action," he said. "And though Klier and Wesemann have been putting in impressive performances of late, we have been forced to lower our expectations by a peg or two."
Joining Wese and Klier are the very experienced Rolf Aldag, Sergey Ivanov Klier's training partner) and Stephan Schreck, who is returning to full fitness following his crash in Milan-San Remo. 21 year-old German neo-pro Marcus Burghardt will also be on the start line in Brugge, following his fourth place in Dwars Door Vlaanderen last week. Rounding out the roster are the sprint duo of Erik Zabel and Erik Baumann.
The full roster: Rolf Aldag, Eric Baumann, Marcus Burghardt, Sergey Ivanov, Andreas Klier, Stephan Schreck, Steffen Wesemann and Erik Zabel.