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Milram takes shape for 2009

Team Milram announced its three signings for the coming season, including two riders from the soon-to-end Team Gerolsteiner. Johannes Fröhlinger and Matthias Russ are coming from Gerolsteiner, while Thomas Rohregger is leaving Team Elk Haus for the German team. In addition, Milram has extended its contract with captain Christian Knees.

Knees, 27, took over as team captain after the departure of Alessandro Petacchi. He won the Bayerrn Rundfahrt in June and finished 29th overall in the Tour de France. "With Christian Knees we have been able to hold on to one of the important pillars of our team," said Team Manager Gerry van Gerwen.

Rohregger will provide the team with much needed help in the mountains. The 25 year-old Austrian won the Österreich Rundfahrt this year. He turned professional in 2006 and in the same year won the mountain jerseys in both the Österreich Rundfahrt and the Tour of Luxembourg.

Fröhlinger and Russ are both young riders who will provide support in stage races. Fröhlinger, 23 years old and a second-year professional, finished second in Giro d'Italia stage five this year after being part of a long-lasting breakaway group. The native of Gerolstein, Germany, was in a five-hour long escape with his future captain Knees in Monday's third stage of the Deutschland Tour.

Russ, 24, turned professional with Gerolsteiner in 2005. He has started in the Vuelta a España once and the Giro d'Italia three times. In this year's Giro, he missed out on the leader's pink jersey by hundredths of a second when in the sixth stage, from Potenza to Peschici, he was part of a 12-rider escape group that finished more than eleven and a half minutes ahead of the peloton. (SW)

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