January 18, 2006 – Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Cala D’Or in Mallorca for our team presentation of T-Mobile. Everyone came together at Club Robinson, which is primarily a German establishment on the island of Mallorca in Spain. The support behind the T-Mobile team is immense – marketing and communications staff from T-mobile, sponsors, team staff, and the entire T-Mobile executive group.
The week was spent getting to know each other, our new bikes (Giant TCR Advanced LE), and equipment along with being treated to three “full-spread” buffet meals every day. Good thing that we had the chance to get in some long aerobic rides! The team’s chemistry was inherent from our first meeting in Munich and was built upon during the week. I had the good fortune to room with Judith Arndt, the 2004 World Champion, and was impressed by her friendship and humble nature – a true champion.
Most days began with a 10am departure which usually included many VIPs who started the day with us. T-Mobile set up a whole tent full of VIP bikes, kits, and food to ensure their guests had the opportunity to explore the island with the pros. They maintain this setup for all of the major tour races, providing sponsors with a chance to get up close and personal with the professional cyclists and see how they live. The VIPs were all super friendly and there was a mutual respect for the accomplishments each group had achieved, whether in the corporate world, or the athletic arena. The rides would end with many of the VIP’s lining up to challenge “the infamous” Ina-Yoko Teutenberg to a sprint.
The island was full of magenta jerseys and it seemed like we had taken over. Friendships were forming across the men’s and women’s teams and staff. The women’s team was welcomed into the family in a formal dinner with the men’s team and T-Mobile executives. On Saturday, the team presentation was held with over 100 journalists all wanting to catch a glimpse of the 2006 roster and of course the infamous Jan Ullrich. T-Mobile put on a wonderful show of videos and interviews with the riders. Take a look at the website for the videos and photos – http://www.t-mobile-team.com/cms/tmoteam/en/. The journalists then followed Jan around like a swarm of bees for the afternoon, although we did get to sneak him out for a photo with the women’s team.
Our first race begins February 21st at the Geelong Tour and World Cup in Australia, followed by the NZ Tour and World Cup. The season will focus on the World Cup series, and I will be spending most of the season in Europe. I am really looking forward to new adventures with the most supportive group I have ever worked with. Team chemistry and positive energy along with hard work and talent will surely lead to many victories for the T-Mobile Team in 2006.