Gerolsteiner: "We will take a firm stand."

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16.01.2008/ Gerolsteiner starts its last season with three new signings. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer doesn't have a new sponsor for the 2009 season yet but he is quiet optimistic.

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Markus Fothen is aiming for a top ten result at Le Tour... (© Cyclingheroes)

Team Gerolsteiner will start its final season with 25 riders. Four riders left the team and the German Pro-Tour squad signed three new riders. German rider Stephan Schreck (29) came from T-Mobile and two neo professionals: Italian rider Francesco De Bonis (25) and Swiss rider Mathias Frank (21).

Tour captain Markus Fothen wasn't satisfied about his past season but the 26 year old still thinks he can win the Tour. But not necessarily this season. Markus Fothen said: "My goal is a top ten result in the overall of the Tour."

The team presentation was overshadowed by the news from Austria that its former rider Georg Totschnig is allegedly involved in the 'Humanplasma' doping scandal. Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer said: "This strucks me in the stomach. This the first time we are connected with a blood scandal." Holczer is 100% sure that there is no ubiquitous doping in his team.

The team manager will also speak with Stefan Schumacher. The winner of last years edition of the Amstel Gold Race had 'abnormal' blood levels  before the UCI World Championships and German police found traces of amphetamine in Schumacher's blood after a car accident in October. Schumacher said he "can't explain how this came in my blood." Team manager Holczer told reporters yesterday that he will have to speak with Schumacher: "The case isn't closed yet." Holczer added: "We can't go over to business as usual."

Both cases will not be very helpful for Holczer to find a new sponsor. During the presentation Holczer announced that he signed an agreement with Sports marketing company Sports Five. The company will assist him by his search for a new backer. 

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Ronny Scholz is dreaming about 'his' Tour stage..(© Cyclingheroes)

Holczer said he will continue to "take a firm stand" against doping. The team manager was one of seven team managers who walked out of a meeting of the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP) on July 5, 2007. The seven team managers of five French and three German teams founded the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) in one of London's famous red double deckers buses at the foyer of the accreditations center of the 2007 Tour de France.
German National Road Race Champion Fabian Wegmann said he "will make the UCI Road World Championships and the Olympic Games to his main goals" for the upcoming season.
Time Trialer Sebastian Lang will try to win the Olympic Time Trial and Davide Rebellin is aiming for the Ardennes classics in his 17th season as a professional.
During the team presentation Ronny Holczer said he wants to continue to do his job for the team but he also has his own ambition: "I want to win a stage at the Tour. Last year it didn't work out but I will try again this year."
Holczer thanked Gerolsteiner for the things his team achieved in the last nine years. Holczer said: "without Gerolsteiner we would still be in the second division."

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Team Gerolsteiner roster 2008
Robert Förster (29), Markus Fothen (26), Thomas Fothen (24), Johannes Frohlinger (22), Oscar Gatto (23), Heinrich Haussler (22), Tim Klinger (22), Bernhard Kohl (25), Sven Krauss (24), Sebastian Lang (28), Andrea Moletta (28), Volker Ordowski (34), Davide Rebellin (36), Matthias Russ (24 ans), Ronny Scholz (29), Stefan Schumacher (26), Tom Stamsnijder (22), Fabian Wegmann (27), Carlo Westphal (22), Peter Wrolich (33), Markus Zberg (33), Oliver Zaugg (26), Stephan Schreck (29), Francesco de Bonis (25), Mathias Frank (21)

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