Team Cycling Noris Directeur Sportif Jochen Dornbusch is optimistic about his team's chances this season, despite the lack of a major corporate sponsor. Not only is he counting on getting a team licence from the International Cycling Union (UCI), but is also confident that he can retain the services of former World champion Amber Neben.
“I will call Amber now,” he told Cyclingnews Wednesday morning. “I think that if Amber is there, we can do well in the stage races this year.”
“With Amber, Trixi Worrack and Angela Hennig, I think we can bring in 10 to 15 wins this year,” said an upbeat Dornbusch. The team will look to target races including the Thüringen Rundfahrt and the Giro d'Italia.
The team had 17 wins last season, with Neben winning the time trial at the women's Giro d'Italia and Worrack also claiming a stage at the race, one of the German's four season wins.
Neben told Cyclingnews last week that she was planning to stay with the team for at least the first half of the season.
Noris is the former Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. The German insurance company ended its sponsorship at the end of the season, and plans for Sykter GmbH to take over fell through in early December.
Team manager Herbert Oppelt told Rad-net.de that neither Neben nor Nicole Cooke had yet officially agreed to stay with the team. “Right now we are still talking to both of them. We will start the season with eight riders, and there is still a question mark over [Neben and Cooke].”
According to Dornbusch, those eight riders are Trixi Worrack, Marlen Jöhrend, Bianca Knöfple, Madeleine Sandig, Romy Kasper, Jennifer Hohl, Angela Hennig and Elke Gebhardt. He said that some of the riders would need to draw a salary, while others were receiving family support or were on the payroll of the German military or police.
Oppelt was to submit the team's licence application to the UCI as of last Friday, and now “hopes it will work out,” Dornbusch said. The UCI is yet to confirm the team's status for this season.
Meanwhile, four of the riders will open the season at the Women's Tour of Qatar for the German national team. Gebhardt, Worrack. Hennig and Knöfple will be at the start of the race to be held February 3-5, the German cycling federation (Bund Deutscher Radfahrer) has announced.