PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
T-Mobile team manager Olaf Ludwig has admitted that his big-budget squad did not achieve the results he had been hoping for during the spring Classics season. Speaking on his team's website, Ludwig said: "If I only look at the results, I have to say that we didn't accomplish what we set out to do. We wanted to win at the classics. We didn't succeed."
Although prominent in most of the Classics this spring, T-Mobile failed to emulate the top level victory achieved by the now departed Alexandre Vinokourov in Lige-Bastogne-Lige last year. Ludwig, though, did feel that his riders had performed well during April and that big wins would soon arrive. "I'm quite content with the way the team showed themselves from April up to the Henninger Turm race. The team were on the attack and rode aggressively at these races. we did the groundwork for the season's second half. And I'm convinced: the wins will come," he said.
Ludwig explained that he prefers to look at each race in isolation rather than the campaign as a whole, although he realised that others will view the campaign from the latter perspective. "At the Henninger Turm or the Amstel Gold Race, for example, we dominated the races until close to the finish. The team stuck to the strategy and rode courageously - that was impressive," he stated. "Even though we didn't win I told the team that they can be proud of their performance.
"By contrast, I was disappointed by the performances at the E3-Prijs Vlaanderen or Ghent-Wevelgem. In the decisive moments the team were not concentrating and made small tactical mistakes. I put that pointed across very clearly to the riders, and didn't mince my words."
Ludwig picked Ardennes contender Patrik Sinkewitz as his team's best rider of the spring. "He absolutely lived up to our expectations," said Ludwig, adding: "I was surprised by our newcomer Andr Greipel. He won two stages in Rheinland-Pfalz and rode very courageously at his races. That was significant."
Turning his attention to this month's Giro d'Italia, which starts in Seraing on Saturday, Ludwig admitted "it will certainly be difficult to place a rider among the top 10 on GC. Our aim is to get riders in the breaks and to attack. Matthias Kessler, for example, would be the right man to do that." As for Jan Ullrich, Ludwig said that "what's important is that he stays healthy and can continue to build up his form."
He explained that Ullrich's late start to the season had meant a significant change in his plans for the Giro. "In the winter we thought Jan could test his legs at one or another Giro stage. Now we've had to rethink our plan. For the Giro this means making it to Milan, if possible," Ludwig said.
Ludwig also admitted he is hopeful Andreas Klden will be in T-Mobile's Tour de France team after dislocating his shoulder. "He still feels the shoulder when he climbs. His return to competition is scheduled for the end of May, provided the healing process goes to plan," said the T-Mobile boss. "But there is still enough time until July."
- 2005 Worlds bronze medallist Anthony Geslin fractured his left collarbone when he crashed on a cobbled section of Thursday's Four Days of Dunkirk stage to Le Cateau-Cambrsis. The stage was won by Tenax's Roberto Petito, who beat FDJ's Stphane Petilleau in a two-up sprint and took the leader's jersey.
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM