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The Waiting Game

Gerolsteiner is supposedly waiting to hear about whether the sponsor will stick by the team or join the massive German anti-doping grandstanding exercise and withdraw from the sport. One of the ways the team could have influenced the decision was by having a kick-ass week-plus on the home soil, during the D-Tour/Vattenfalls run. Mission not accomplished.

Robert Förster got things off to a rollicking start by winning the stage 1 sprint but wasn't heard from again and wound up 6th on points. Damiano Cunego snatched stage 4 away from Davide Rebellin, and Tintin wound up 10th on GC. Their website is all excited about placing Rebellin and Peter Wrolich 6th and 9th at Vattenfalls, but I'm not sure history will long remember this. Also, that's the German version; the English version hasn't been updated since their whole anonymous team finished the Tour.

In the Pro Tour, their rank is spot on: they just swapped places with Credit Agricole for 13th on the season, with Rebellin milking their classics success for 5th overall in the individual rank. The team came on strong at the Ardennes, with Schumacher and Rebellin winning beautifully at Amstel and La Fleche, but it's been a pretty fallow season since then.

On the plus side, however, there's pretty much no stench of doping around them. Somehow I suspect this is more of a factor than anything else in the sponsor's mind. The worst that can be said about them is that their manager Holczer makes about as much sense in an interview as Tom Cruise. If clean sport is the new bottom line, I don't see what the holdup is. But if Gerolsteiner want to stop being the little brother of German Cycling, they don't need to just hang on to their sponsor, they need to open up the purse for someone besides the ancient Rebellin to build a competitive team around.