PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
Naturally it was smiles all over for the magenta-coloured T-Mobiles when Alexandre Vinokourov finally broke the hoodoo and secured the German team its first victory of the season in Sunday's Lige-Bastogne-Lige, writes Susanne Horsdal.
"I never worried about the lack of victories. All you have to do is work, then you get rewarded and that's what happened today," said team manager Walter Godefroot, who was happy with a strong performance by Vinokourov in Flche Wallonne and felt that the Kazakh could pull off a big result in Lige. "I was convinced he could make it to the podium today and when you can do that you're also close to winning the race," said Godefroot.
Godefroot puts down Vinokourov's late start to the season in terms of successes to the fact that the rider fell ill after a training camp early in the year, which set him back in form. "But otherwise he's just as strong as in 2003," Godefroot stated.
The team manager admitted, though, that he's depending for victories on Vinokourov and Erik Zabel. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, Zabel has been struggling with injuries and hasn't been able to attain his normal standard, which usually means a fair number of victories have already been taken in the spring.
"But Vinokourov was close to winning the final stage of Paris-Nice. If he had done that there wouldn't have been all these annoying questions," said a happy T-Mobile boss.
As the months have passed with no victories materialising, pressure has been growing on the German team, but Godefroot claims he's never heard a complaining word from the sponsor.
"They know you can't plan victory in sport," Godefroot pointed out. "Or maybe it's because Mario Kummer has more contact with the sponsor," he added with a grin.