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Gerolsteiner team presentation

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Team Gerolsteiner 2005

Team Gerolsteiner 2005 (Image credit: Mani Wollner)
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Frank Høj

Frank Høj (Image credit: Mani Wollner)
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Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer

Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer (Image credit: Mani Wollner)
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Team Gerolsteiner 2005

Team Gerolsteiner 2005 (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer with German sports TV anchorman Hans-Dieter Poschmann

Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer with German sports TV anchorman Hans-Dieter Poschmann (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Davide Rebellin is the team's classics captain

Davide Rebellin is the team's classics captain (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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René Haselbacher quite focused, with (L to R) Robert Förster, Sven Montgomery and "Paco" Wrolich

René Haselbacher quite focused, with (L to R) Robert Förster, Sven Montgomery and "Paco" Wrolich (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Frank Høj talking about the secrets...

Frank Høj talking about the secrets... (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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...of his hairstyling

...of his hairstyling (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Høj's teammates didn't know that story either

Høj's teammates didn't know that story either (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Ronny Scholz with Fabian Wegmann

Ronny Scholz with Fabian Wegmann (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer discussing GT tactics?

Georg Totschnig and Levi Leipheimer discussing GT tactics? (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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The hard life of a professional cyclist

The hard life of a professional cyclist (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Maybe simply too many...

Maybe simply too many... (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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...cobblestones?

...cobblestones? (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Sports director and cycling legend Udo Bölts

Sports director and cycling legend Udo Bölts (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Talking sports

Talking sports (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Danilo Hondo and his new bike

Danilo Hondo and his new bike (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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Gerolsteiner's new Specialized

Gerolsteiner's new Specialized (Image credit: Mani Wollner/foto-grafik-satz.de)
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The full 2005 Gerolsteiner team with manager Hans-Michael Holczer (left)

The full 2005 Gerolsteiner team with manager Hans-Michael Holczer (left) (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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The GC contenders interwiewed by German TV presentator Wolf-Dieter Poschmann

The GC contenders interwiewed by German TV presentator Wolf-Dieter Poschmann (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Plotting some plans for the Tour?

Plotting some plans for the Tour? (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Danilo Hondo (right) speaks about his goal, the World's

Danilo Hondo (right) speaks about his goal, the World's (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Giro mountains jersey winner Fabian Wegmann, 25 years old

Giro mountains jersey winner Fabian Wegmann, 25 years old (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Michael Rich in front, at the back neo-pro Heinrich Haussler from Australia (left) and Matthias Russ

Michael Rich in front, at the back neo-pro Heinrich Haussler from Australia (left) and Matthias Russ (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Levi Leipheimer amidst his new teammates

Levi Leipheimer amidst his new teammates (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Levi Leipheimer talking to journalists

Levi Leipheimer talking to journalists (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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20 year-old Heinrich Haussler left Australia at the age of 14 to become a pro

20 year-old Heinrich Haussler left Australia at the age of 14 to become a pro (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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The tall Dane Frank Høj ...or am I too small?

The tall Dane Frank Høj ...or am I too small? (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Specialized Gerolsteiner bike

The Specialized Gerolsteiner bike (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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The sloping frame is pretty beautifully designed

The sloping frame is pretty beautifully designed (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)
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Full carbon power for Gerolsteiner

Full carbon power for Gerolsteiner (Image credit: Hedwig Kröner/Cyclingnews.com)

Still water runs deep

By Hedwig Kröner in Gerolstein

The third-placed team in the UCI 2004 classification was presented today in Gerolstein, a town in the forest-covered hills of the Eifel region in mid-western Germany. It is also a mineral water source which gave its name to the cycling team, whose members were introduced to the assembled media in the company's huge stock hall amidst a large number of bottles of water - Gerolsteiner being one of the biggest mineral water suppliers in Germany, the dimensions were impressive.

Back from a training camp in Mallorca, the riders one by one jumped up a couple of stairs onto a spotlighted stage, and team director Hans-Michael Holczer outlined the upcoming challenges and goals of what will be the team's seventh season. Starting out in 1999, the small squad evolved rapidly over the years and can now count itself in the ranks of the world's greatest cycling teams. In 2004, the team celebrated such successes like Davide Rebellin's classics triple, as well as 29 other victories and 47 podium placings, of which sprinter Danilo Hondo achieved a large number and will continue to do so. Austrian Georg Totschnig's top placings at the Tour de France and the Tour de Suisse as well as youngster Fabian Wegmann's mountain jersey at the Giro d'Italia were further highlights of the last year.

Heading into 2005, Gerolsteiner signed five new riders to its roster, among them Levi Leipheimer and Frank Høj. The Danish classics hunter left CSC for the German team "because I'm always really thirsty," he joked during the presentation. Talking more seriously later to Cyclingnews, Høj said he aims at Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen this season, "although it is too early to tell you if my legs will be strong enough to be captain then. I do have a lot of experience with Paris-Roubaix so if another guy on the team is better that day I can always be helpful. But I hope it will be me!"

Høj is happy with his new team and finds it very relaxed compared to CSC. "With Bjarne, we had the training camp and something to do all the time, whereas here, we take things day by day. It's a different philosophy. I do like it because it's much more flexible," Høj admitted.

Levi Leipheimer confirmed the easy atmosphere at his new team, adding, "To be honest, I was surprised. I expected a very strict organisation which they have; everything runs perfectly. But I also suspected a little rigidity and there is none of that, it's very relaxed."

Leipheimer's goal being a top five placing at this year's Tour de France, he will be working closely with Georg Totschnig, Gerolsteiner's "other" Tour de France GC aspirant. "It takes the pressure off both of us," he said. "But the more we can work together, the stronger we will be. As Gerolsteiner's aim is to place very high at the Tour, the better. If one of us has a chance to hop on the podium, we'll help each other."

Then there's a small Italian named Davide Rebellin who doesn't seem intimidated by his unequalled achievement last year of winning three spring classics in a row. "No, there's no pressure," he said to Cyclingnews. "It's a new year and I find new motivation to win other important races in the ProTour, as I want to do well in the overall classification. There are a lot of races to do now, also stage races. It will be difficult repeat the three race win from last year, but I hope I can win one classic and maybe another that I haven't won yet," Rebellin added.

Soon, he will become Argentinean to represent the South American country at the World's in Madrid. "After what happened in Verona, I suggested to take my time and do it in a more relaxed way. I'll fly to Argentina to get my passport soon."

Watch out for an interview with Levi Leipheimer in the coming days, as well as an extensive talk with Gerolsteiner's directeur sportif Christian Henn.

Click here for Gerolsteiner's team roster

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