Austrian Volksbank team wants to start at the 2010 Tour de France

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30.03.2007/ With a 10th spot for Swiss rider Florian Stalder on yesterdays  queen stage of Coppi & Bartali, the Austrian Volksbank team showed that they have a team which is getting stronger every year. Cyclingheroes spoke with team manager Thomas Kofler.

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Thomas Kofler build-up the Volksbank squad (picture: Cyclingheroes)

Cyclingheroes: Are you statisfied how, until now, the season went for Volksbank?
Thomas Kofler: Well we were not exactly blessed with races where we could start, unfortunally the 10 days stage race Malotti was cancelled. Nevertheless we are not completly discontented because we saw some good approaches. We will continue to work on that and we are looking into the future with confidence.
Cyclingheroes: Can you tell us something about the situation of Gerhard Trampusch ? Is he ok? [Trampusch was ill]

Thomas Kofler: He would be ok if he would be back on the saddle again. Like us, he was very disappointed that he wasn't able to race at the start of the season but we hope he will recover fast and will be able to start racing in May.

Cyclingheroes: The team is a pro-continenal team now. Is there a big difference between the program (and the level) of a continental and pro-continental team?

Thomas Kofler: Actually yes. For example we are not allowed to start at 1.2 UCI races in foreign countries anymore. The other way around Pro-Tor teams are allowed to start at 1.1 UCI races. Our race program is peppered with Pro-Tour races, which is of course the championsleague of cycling. But very interesting!
Cyclingheroes: The team is developing further and further, what is the objective?

Thomas Kofler: Our goal is the 2010 edition of the Tour de France. We know how to get there. Now it's up to the realization, which we are working on at the moment.

Cyclingheroes: Did the level of the team raise with riders like for instance Gerrit Glomser or Florian Stalder, who both have Pro-Tour experience?

Thomas Kofler: I think so because... yes!  They have a lot of experience and parts of that experience flow into their advice to other riders. 

Cyclingheroes: The budget of the Volksbank team is clearly higher, will it continue to rise in the coming years?

Thomas Kofler: [laughing] You have to ask our sponsor to answer that question. We hope to make the Volksbank team even more interesting for backers.

Cyclingheroes: Gerrit Glomser started relativly late with his season, was there a special reason for that?

Thomas Kofler: He prepared very calmly and focused. I believe and hope that Gerrit will have a great year.

Cyclingheroes: Last year Tom Danielson won the Tour of Austria. What is your opinion about this years course of your homecountrie's Tour? Does the Volksbank team has somebody for the overall?

Thomas Kofler: The Tour is peppered with high mountains, mean climbs, a time trial and fast stages. Anything can happen and surely it will be very interesting. For the overall we have a few candidates with Glomser, Trampusch, Hungerbüler, Stalder, Witecki .... 

Cyclingheroes: Last question, as it is our homerace, can you already tell us which riders will start at April 9 at the Cologn classic?

Thomas Kofler: Presumably: Glomser, Hungerbühler, Teutenberg, Benetseder, Apostol, Witecki, Weissinger and Ludescher. The other part of the team will race at the week of Lombardi!

Cyclingheroes: Thanks for your time and good luck!

Thomas Kofler: Thank you.


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