The T-Mobile women's team has geared up its rider roster and changed its management for the 2007 season, the second year of its existence on European racing territory. The magenta girls gathered for a first meet-and-greet at the shores of beautiful Lake Lugano in Switzerland last week, and the get-together wasn't only intended for bike fittings and photo shoots, as Hedwig Kröner found out.
"Don't you get used to it, it's surely not going to be like this all year round!," joked the new team manager Kristy Scrymgeour as many expressed their positive surprise at the luxury of the four-star hotel 'Villa Sassa' in central Lugano - where T-Mobile held their team meeting event. While high-class accommodation has become more of a standard within the men's peloton - especially at the German squad sponsored by the mobile telephony giant - the women surely still seem powered by their passion for cycling rather than a fancy life style and big pay rolls. But they are part of the T-Mobile family, and therefore backed by one of the most important sponsors in cycling, which got them well-deserved special incentives.
Bob Stapleton, the team's founder in the US and manager during the 2006 season, will be taking over the - much more famous - men's ProTour team next year, which is also in profound reformation. Taking his place within the women's team will be Kristy Scrymgeour, a former cyclist herself, who leaves her position as an advertising manager for Cyclingnews to join the team.
Last season's directeur sportif Andrzej Bek will be replaced by Australian Anna Wilson, a former world ranked number one road rider. A new coach has also been appointed in Petra Rossner, who can look back on an extremely successful career as a pro cyclist herself.
The new roster for next season is - to say the least - a promising one. With three riders staying on from this year (Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Judith Arndt and Kim Anderson), the squad of eleven counts eight newcomers from six nations: Kate Bates, Chantal Beltman, Suzanne de Goede, Emilia Fahlin, Alex Rhodes, Linda Melanie Villumsen, Anke Wichmann and, last but not least, 2004 and 2005 World Cup winner Oenone Wood.
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