Team Milram: "The door is always open."

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10.01.2008/ Team Milram goes new ways. The team is now managed by Velocity GmbH, a German company that took over from  Italian company Ciclosport. The team signed several young riders and will collaborate with Danish anti-doping expert Prof. Dr. Rasmus Damgaard. Milram will also open a new team base in Dortmund. The middle-term goal is to run the team like a European soccer team. In the future all team members will live and train in Dortmund and its vicinity and it will be transparent for officals, fans and the media: "The door is always open."

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Team manager Gerry van Gerwen: "Anti-doping begins in the mind." (© Cyclingheroes)

"I am happy to present a German team that, with it’s high number of young riders, offers a high potential for the future. Team Milram’s new organisation stands for the new way in cycling," said new team manager Gerry van Gerwen. Van Gerwen took over the team (including its Pro-Tour license) from Gianluigi Stanga, who was accused by Jörg Jaksche of involvement in team organised doping, during the time Stanga managed Team Polti.

Van Gerwens's operating company VeloCity GmbH with it’s basis in Dortmund’s Club Olympia, which was founded in 2007, is Team Milram’s new proprietor. The new team base will be the home for Team Milram’s riders and staff. "Our middle-term goal is to make all team-members come to Dortmund and its vicinity to live and train there. This allows a closer contact and a better co-operation with the riders," van Gerwen explains. The new team manager invited officials, fans and the media to come and visit the team's facilities in Dortmund: "The door is always open."

"With the new German basis, the clear focus on German riders, the younger squad, a scouting system for young talents and an enhanced anti-doping system we changed extensively," explains Gerry van Gerwen. "These changes make the establishment as a German team, that stands for a maximum transparency towards all officials, media and fans, possible," Gerry van Gerwen continues. To underline this demand for renewal, Team Milram was strengthened in key positions. Jochen Hahn and Raoul Liebregts support the present Sport Directors. Haan is also trainer of the new Milram squad. German doctor Dirk Tenner supplements the medical team and wasn't involved in professional cycling in the past.

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Martin Mischel of Nordmilch AG (© Cyclingheroes)

Martin Mischel, Director Sales and Marketing of Nordmilch AG, explains the position of the main sponsor: "After the events of the year 2007 we demanded a change of the frameworks and an enhancement of the anti-doping programme. This has been carried out. Not at least because of this we remain the team’s sponsor out of conviction. As a German company we’re happy that Team Milram is now acting from a German basis. Especially as a company of the nutrition industry, a clean sport is important for Nordmilch. A clean sport and a clean team for us are the the basic conditions for the sponsoring. This is why we always make clear that only clean wins are successes for us." Mischel also said that Nordmilch thought a long time about how to proceed with the team. Mischel talked with politicians and the president of the German Sports and Olympic federation (DOSB), Thomas Bach. After that Nordmilch decided to continue their sponsorship but with a new team manager and a new anti-doping programm. Mischel threatened riders who take performance enhancing drugs with damage claims and said that "riders who still dope should undergo an intelligence test." The company said it achieved their marketing objectives as planned but there would habe been more in it if there wouldn't have been so much scandals. He called up on other companies to stick with cycling or to step in. Mischel also said 2008 would be crucial, Nordmilch has a contract with the team until the end of 2009 but Mischel said the company could pull out if there would be a doping case at team Milram.

Anti-Doping Programme

Team Milram’s existing anti-doping programme was extended and is now based on five pillars: official rules, additional voluntary agreements, increased prevention, increased transparency and clear consequences.

Team Milram says it does not only follow the worldwide anti-doping rules of UCI, WADA and the IOC, but also the anti-doping regulations of the seven home countries of its riders. "Consequently, Team Milram underlies stricter controls then ever in 2008. The official institutions alone will carry out at least 600 doping tests with riders of the German squad. The UCI’s new biological blood passport will be designed for every rider. Up to twelve blood and urin samples of every rider make it possible to recognise possible irregularities at an early stage," Gerry van Gerwen explained. Furthermore, Team Milram intends a close co-operation with the Danish doctor Prof. Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, whose duty it is to analyse and interpret eight blood samples of every rider, independent of the team. The engagement of Prof. Dr. Damsgaard ensures a continuous supervision of the blood profiles.

Apart from the official rules, Team Milram sticks to diverse additional agreements that were made with the team members and singular institutions. Among these is the consent to hand over the riders’ DNA as well as that to the UCI’s Code of Conduct. Van Gerwen: "Team Milram already consented with these additional agreements in 2007. This means that we do everything that is necessary and that we support all effective anti-doping measures." Furthermore, all team-members have signed a team-internal medical and ethical statement as well as a regulation of conduct, among others about anti-doping and tightened sanctions. Van Gerwen invited the media to study the agreements so "you can see that I am not just saying this, you will see the signatures are real."

"Anti-doping begins in the mind. So, for us only successes are valuable that are based on a natural performance. This attitude has been valid since Team Milram was founded," Gerry van Gerwen says about doping. And Team Milram even increases the transparency. In the future, all riders will communicate their whereabouts via a software solution that was developed only for this purpose, and no more by fax or phone. So, the anti-doping officers have access to the riders’ whereabouts any time. Should there be any offences in Team Milram despite all measures, an immediate suspension in case of a doing suspicion and an immediate dismission in case of a confirmed doping case are the consequent reactions. Asked if the team would sign riders like Jörg Jaksche and Patrick Sinkewitz, Van Gerwen said: "No, we can't do that. Riders who are banned, get an additional two year ban for Pro-Tour teams. We will respect the agreements of the 'code de conduit'."

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Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel are team Milram's captains (© Cyclingheroes)

Team Milram will focus on German races
Apart from the Tour de France as the most important race with the greatest attention in Germany, all German stage- and one-day-races will be in Team Milram’s sportive focus. "In 2008 we want to be established as a German team. Germany furthermore is the home of our main sponsor’s brand Milram. Twelve German riders in the team confirm our focus. As a team of the UCI ProTour we will, of course, give our best at the ProTour races as well," says Gerry van Gerwen. The combination of experienced riders like Erik Zabel on the one hand and young talents on the other hand is the basis for the coming season.

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Team Milram 2008 roster
Igor Astarloa (Esp), Luca Barla (Ita), Volodymyr Diudia (Ukr), Markus Eichler (Ger), Artur Gajek (Ger), Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita), Ralf Grabsch (Ger), Andrey Grivko (Ukr), Dennis Haueisen (Ger), Matej Jurco (Slov), Christian Knees (Ger), Christian Kux (Ger), Brett Lancaster (Aus), Martin Müller (Ger), Alberto Ongarato (Ita), Alessandro Petacchi (Ita), Enrico Poitschke (Ger), Elia Rigotto (Ita), Dominik Roels (Ger), Fabio Sabatini (Ita), Björn Schröder (Ger), Sebastian Schwager (Ger), Niki Terpstra (Ned), Martin Veltis (Slk), Peter Veltis (Slk), Marco Velo (Ita), Erik Zabel (Ger)

Manager: Gerry Van Gerwen (Ned)

Sports Directors: Vittorio Algeri (Ita), Antonio Bevilacqua (Ita), Oscar Pellicioli (Ita), Jochen Hahn (Ger), Raoul Liebregts (Ned)

Link: New Cyclingheroes Website

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