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Phonak's excess baggage

Preparations for next week's Tour of Georgia (from April 18-23) are running full speed ahead for the Phonak Cycling Team. The logistical planning involved is especially huge: think of eight riders, directeur-sportif René Savary, Dr. Denis Demir, three mechanics and three massage therapists as well as their media officer, travelling with more than 40 pieces of luggage - all bound for the US State of Georgia.

Included in that entourage are: 24 racing bikes with 43 pairs of wheels, 300 energy bars and three kilos of powder for isotonic drinks. The team can't depend on the usual fleet of cars, so the cars provided by the organisers have to be fitted out before the beginning of the race.

While it may seem like a logistical nightmare, Savary finds it 'stimulating' (?!), according to a team statement. Last year, Phonak took stage wins with Floyd Landis and Robert Hunter, and also wore the leader's jersey during four stages. "That was a nice success," Savary recalls. "If we could improve on that [result], it would be wonderful."

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