Rich leads Gerolsteiner coup
Michael Rich takes the opening time trial at the Deutschland Tour. Jan Ullrich finishes second.
Having taken four of the top seven places in Monday’s Tour of Germany stage one time trial, German squad Gerolsteiner have shown their intent to rival Jan Ullrich’s T-Mobile dream team. Having long been left in the shadow of the magenta-clad team led by Ullrich, Vinokourov, Zabel, Botero et al, Gerolsteiner company bosses demonstrated their sponsorship commitment to the team by signing a new three-year contract on Saturday. Coming two days before their home tour, the German bottled-water company’s announcement also had the effect of spurring on the team’s riders on the opening stage. Winner Michael Rich led home team-mates Uwe Peschel in third, Sebastian Lang – fifth – and seventh-placed Danilo Hondo. In fact, German cycling as a whole was shown to be more than healthy with seven German riders in the top eight only being broken up by the Czech Jan Hruska, sixth in today’s stage. “In the future you will not be able to fail to link the name Gerolsteiner with German cycling,” said the company’s boss, Jorg Croseck, which will back the team until the end of 2008.