By Hedwig Kröner
The magenta-clad girls of the T-Mobile women's cycling team will be going into their second year of existence on European racing roads in 2007, and quite a lot of changes have been made for the upcoming season. As has already been reported, the squad's manager Bob Stapleton 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, and a new coach has been appointed; Petra Rossner, who can look back an extremely successful career as a pro cyclist herself.
The new team gathered for the first time last week on the shores of Lake Lugano, and its roster for next season is - to say the least - a promising one. With three riders staying on for next 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, Oenone Wood.
"It has been exciting building the roster into what we think will be a very strong team," Scrymgeour said. "The changes to the roster were only natural as quite a few of the girls from this year were winding up their career. For 2007 we have a really good mixture of experience and young talent."
The team hopes to be able to build on this year's success, where Judith Arndt has won seven, and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg eleven races, with T-Mobile finishing the 2006 season in second place on the World Cup points rankings. The addition of Wood, Villumsen and the two Dutch girls De Goede and Beltman will make the roster more versatile for classic one-day races and small tours. "We will target all the season’s major races, especially the one day races on the World Cup calendar, Scrymgeour continued. "We have strength-in depth and plenty of experience in the roster, so different athletes will be able to concentrate on their peaks to target specific races, where they can count on the support of a strong and motivated team."
In Lugano, the newly-built squad experienced more than just bike fitting and photo sessions: they also went on a team building date in an adventure park, where riders as well as staff could get a first glimpse of each of the T-Mobile members character during physical as well as mental strain.
Watch out for an extensive feature on the magenta girls' day "out in the woods" coming up soon on Cyclingnews.