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T-Mobile have confirmed their "leadership role and commitment to a clean sport" by announcing a substantially revamped team for the 2007 season at a team presentation in Bonn on Wednesday morning. With iconic former leader Jan Ullrich in Operacion Puerto-instigated doping disgrace together with Oscar Sevilla, and Andreas Klden on his way to Astana, the big-money German team have made no less than 11 signings, while T-Mobile have extended their sponsorship commitment to 2010.
Joining the squad for 2007 are Michael Barry (Canada), Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Gerald Ciolek (Germany), Bernhard Eisel (Austria), Bert Grabsch (Germany), Roger Hammond (Great Britain), Servais Knaven (Holland), Axel Merckx (Belgium), Aaron Olsen (USA), Jacob Piil (Denmark) and Marco Pinotti (Italy).
Now led by new general manager Bob Stapleton and head of sport management Rolf Aldag, T-Mobile have also made signings as sport directors, bringing in Allan Peiper and Tristan Hoffman from Davitamon-Lotto and CSC respectively to join Brian Holm and Valerio Piva. As well as this new management team, all T-Mobile riders will now be monitored by a team at The University Clinic in Freiburg, who will supervise the team's medical and training programme.
"Our first step is to bring in good people that have fresh ideas and are motivated to create positive change," said Stapleton. "Rolf and I are pleased to work with such a motivated and capable group," he added.
Supported by a newly created expert advisory board, this rider preparation programme "brings innovative methods and new procedures from training and athletic development, anti-doping testing and monitoring, and sports psychology," says team doctor Dr. Lothar Heinrich. "With the dynamic interaction of our board and team management we can continue to build and improve our program", adds Stapleton.
The riders' medical supervision will rest exclusively in the hands of Professor Andreas Schmid's medical team at the University of Freiburg, and new stricter internal controls will include a state-of-the-art blood volume test. Furthermore the medical program will be monitored by external, independent experts, to guarantee its long-term effectiveness. "All riders know our concept and our rules," said Aldag, who insists on a clear commitment to the team's principles and strict code of conduct.
The team's goal, says Aldag, is to be highly competitive throughout the whole year and to broaden the scope of interest in the team. Young riders like sprinter Gerald Ciolek will be mentored by older team-mates, who will pass on their experience and prepare these fresh talents to grow quickly. A lynchpin of the new structure is Australian Michael Rogers, who will be team captain. The 26 year old has the "character and mentality" to lead a team says Aldag.
As well as Rogers, T-Mobile have also retained Eric Baumann (Germany), Lorenzo Bernucci (Italy), Scott Davis (Australia), Linus Gerdemann (Germany), Andr Greipel (Germany), Giuseppe Guerini (Italy), Serhiy Gonchar (Ukraine), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Andreas Klier (Germany), Andr Korff (Germany), Frantisek Rabon, (Czech Republic) Stephan Schreck (Germany), Patrik Sinkewitz (Germany) and Thomas Ziegler (Germany).
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