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Milram shrinks in 2007

By Susan Westemeyer

Team Milram, the Italian-German ProTour team, will be smaller next year. Eight riders have left the team, while only five newcomers have been hired. No more signings are expected; team spokesman Sandra Schmitz reported to that "There's still some space, but we're going to stay with 27 riders."

The most illustrious newcomer is former World Champion Igor Astarloa. The 30 year-old Spaniard is a one-day specialist who can also sprint. The heart of the team will continue to be all-out sprinters Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel, and they will have a new man to pull sprints for them in Brett Lancaster. The 26 year-old Australian is coming over from professional continental team Panaria-Navigare.

In addition, Milram has signed three young riders. Marcel Sieberg, 24, is moving up to the ProTour from Wiesenhof-Akud. He added Belgian one day race GP Jef Scherens to his palmarès this year. 22 year-old Sebastian Schwager comes from Continental Team Thüringer Energie, and finished second this year in the German U23 league. The two will be joined by Niki Terpstra, a 22 year-old Dutchman.

Eight riders are leaving Milram, three of whom have not yet found new teams: Daniel Becke, Simone Cadamuro and Michele Gobbi. Gobbi is still in rehabilitation after suffering life-threatening head injuries in a race crash in October. Daniel Musiol is going to Wiesenhof-Felt, Maxim Iglinsky to Astaná, Maarten den Bakker to Skil-Shimano, Giovanni Visconti to Quick-Step and Alessandro Vanotti to Liquigas.

The team will not only have fewer riders but also one less director sportif. Jan Schaffrath has moved over to rival T-Mobile, and spokesman Schmitz indicated that there are no plans to replace him.

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