Inside the Gerolsteiner TTT

The rules say that five riders have to finish the team time trial, and one assumes that the teams will start with nine riders. One assumes that all nine riders will be at the start....and not left sitting at the hotel, right? Well, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. And apparently even the riders aren't sure who was where.

"In all the excitement we totally forgot three riders," notes Ronny Scholz on his website, According to him, Robert Förster, Paco Wrolich and Sebastian Lang "sat in the car in front of the hotel and waited for someone to come and drive them away. When nobody came, Frösi (Förster) got behind the wheel and drove away."

Förster remembers it differently, as he related to "Zberg, Fabian and I came a little later out and got in the fourth car. The first three cars drove away - we don't. Someone said, hey, who's driving us, anyway? Oh well, they won't start without us, someone will be here in a minute. Ha! They forgot us! We laughed ourselves silly. We couldn't reach anyone over the radio. I said, come, Paco, turn the navigation control on, we'll drive ourselves. We just started to program it when they called us over the radio, said they had forgotten us, could we come by ourselves?"

Förster finished 186th, over 11 minutes down. "Time trialing is just not my thing," he acknowledged, and added, "The yellow jersey is out of my reach now! My Tour victory has slipped away...." After the time trial, his adventures continued. "In the bus I laughed at Fabian (note: his roommate at the Tour), because he got this funny cramp and hopped around. I was immediately punished: I hadn't even stopped laughing when I got the same cramp...In the hotel we both lay on our beds for an hour and called for our mothers."

Wegmann wrote on, "I just arrived at the hotel, can neither lie down nor sit. My whole body is totally cramped, the legs hurt - I can barely hold out. I think, team time trialing will never be my favourite discipline...What interests me most right now: How am I going to get on the bike Wednesday?"

Captain Georg Totschnig wasn't at all satisfied with his performance, as he wrote on "I rode absolutely the worst time trial of my life. During the entire distance I never found the right rhythm and sometimes had the feeling that my teammates had to wait for me - what a disappointment!"

Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer

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