The winter weather in Germany is dangerous, not just for pro cyclists, but for the directeurs sportif, too. Markus Schleicher of Team Wiesenhof-Akud found this out the hard way - a patch of ice, a misplaced foot - and the result was a broken shinbone. So much for his plans to accompany his team to the Tour de Langkawi. Instead of enjoying the warmth in Malaysia, he will be undergoing surgery in a German hospital.
The team certainly isn't about to let its riders race unaccompanied. They were able to find Andreas Petermann, former director with the German teams Coast and Bianchi, who immediately agreed to step in. "That was a bit of luck for us," said Team Manager Raphael Schweda. "That way we will still have an experienced man on the spot."
Captain Torsten Schmidt will lead the team. "Starting with such a long stage race at the beginning of the season will show you mercilessly what your condition is," he said. "But we have trained so well, that we are going into it with a good feeling." Schweda agreed, saying, "This race will show, how good each has individually trained. The race takes place far away from the big media interest, but it is a good indicator as to what we can expect from our riders in the spring season."
Team Wiesenhof-Akud for the Tour of Langkawi: Thomas Konecny, Steffen Radochla, Robert Retschke, Torsten Schmidt, Corey Sweet and Lars Wackernagel.
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer