T-Mobile in tight spot

Andreas Klier and Sergei Ivanov

Andreas Klier and Sergei Ivanov (Image credit: Bert Geerts)

The German T-Mobile-Team, known to be one of the best teams in the world, is currently experiencing its worst season start since 1992. Not one single win has been scored in the new year, and the team management as well as its riders are increasingly under pressure.

"We are not used to this," said T-Mobile manager Olaf Ludwig. "We are judged according to our success, and haven't obtained any results yet this season. Of course we are unhappy and disappointed." With Erik Zabel not achieving the top spots anymore because of a self-admitted lack of explosiveness, T-Mobile has not been able to put its fingerprint on the first ProTour races. Even in Continental events on home ground like the Rund um Köln, the best T-Mobile rider placed eighth (Rolf Aldag).

"It's plain stupid to be missing the decisive breakaways each time," Ludwig continued. "But I hope that the next races will be bring about a change. With Andreas Klier and last year's winner Steffen Wesemann, we have two riders that could win there." Klier showed some excellent form at the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen on March 26, when he stayed clear of a chase group for nearly 60 km before being outsprinted by an unbeatable Boonen. Wesemann, meanwhile, was involved in a crash in the first stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne, but is not seriously hurt.

Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich is still training in Tuscany preparing for his first race of the year, the Circuit de la Sarthe on April 5. According to his personal trainer Rudy Pevenage, Ullrich's progress is good and his weight "OK". T-Mobile's most important season goal being the Tour de France, quite a few of its riders will peak for the July event, including Andreas Klöden, Alexandre Vinokourov and Oscar Sevilla. The magenta squad is not panicking yet, but the season is moving forward.

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