Promising youngsters to T-Mobile

T-Mobile Team has signed two 22 year-olds for its 2008 squad, the American Craig Lewis and the German Tony Martin. Both are looking forward to their ProTour debut.

Lewis is an all-rounder who came to the team through his mentor and fellow South Carolinian, George Hincapie. In US cycling circles he is considered the "next big thing," and can point to top ten finishes this season with Team Slipstream at the Tour of Ireland and the Tour de l'Avenir.

"A lot of things brought me to T-Mobile. I guess you could say everything I have ever done in cycling has led to this team," he said on the team's website. "I have really watched T-Mobile the past couple of years and really loved the direction that they were going in. So it was my first choice for sure and with the help of my mentor, George Hincapie, I am now on the team and very excited with what's ahead."

Lewis is especially enthusiastic about the new training methods. "The team's methods of on and off the bike work is really going to make a huge difference for me next year. You really have to have a balanced body to get the most out of it and with the test we did we found our weak points. The coaches have set up a program for each of us to fix those so that we will have a great and injury-free year."

While he knows it will take him some time to adjust to the ProTour, his goals are "to really make a big impression with the team and prove that I am an important part of the success of T-Mobile. I will look to do well in the hillier classics, like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and also the week-long stage races."

Unlike Lewis, his new teammate Martin isn't particularly thinking about cycling or training at the moment, as he is finishing up his training as a police cadet at the Police Academy in Thüringen, Germany. That will be over in January, and "Then I will be able to fully focus on my cycling career."

Martin has shown talent in a number of areas, having won German championships on the track, in time trials and in the mountains in the last few years. "Time trialling is my strongest discipline. Because of my track background the speed is in the legs", he said. This year he took the overall win at the Irish FDB Insurance Ras and finished second in both the Thüringen Rundfahrt and the Tour de l'Avenir.

He believes that he now "mentally has what it takes to hold my own in stage races." His first season highlight will be the Circuit de la Sarthe. "The race parcours there is mostly flat, and the overall is normally decided in the time trial. It will be a chance for me to see where I stand."

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