Today was the big day for Team T-Mobile, their first presentation in 13 years without Erik Zabel. The squad made up for it by simultaneously presenting their women’s team, perhaps the most groundbreaking of the massive changes in store for the outfit in ’06. Of the 29 men’s riders, 12 are new, though the first thing on everyone’s lips is still Jan Ullrich’s new ‘do (the plural of which would be “‘dos”, not “do’s”, as the headline in that first link would have you believe). To avoid awkwardness, the team got rid of that pesky teammate (search “Steinhauser”) whose sister was being courted by Big Jan, and perhaps in a coy psychological move, they also picked up Eddy Mazzoleni, who, last time I checked, was involved with the sister of Ullrich’s most apparent TdF rival, Ivan Basso. Of course, just so we know the world hasn’t turned completely upside-down, the team is still sponsored to the hilt by Adidas; the soccer company supplies kits, shoes and even deodorant, though apparently no one told Sergei Ivanov (Russian champ, back row) about that last one.
What’s the fastest way to improve the quality of your life? Well, according to Bouygues Telecom’s Jerome Pinot, it’s to lower your standards. Yes, the 27-year-old Frenchman, who considerd quitting after a lacklustre 2005, is raring to ride again after deciding to set no goals for the upcoming season. Additionally, Pinot says the close-at-hand arrival of a new baby girl has “given me wings”. I’m with you 100% on that one, man; who wouldn’t want an excuse to spend months of racing away from the bawling, drooling and dirty diapers of a newborn? Maybe it’s this sort of attitude that keeps Bouygues Telecom from being voted the most likely to succeed French team. That “honor” instead goes to ProTour newbie Ag2r, whose biggest threat for the upcoming season, Paco Mancebo, was recently interviewed at Cyclingnews. Unfortunately, the Velo-Club poll left out psuedo-French team Caisse d’Epargne/Illes Balears, but at least their “outside of Spain/Tour of Germany/Tour of Poland” kit (explanation here) has finally been photographed. And in closing, to Caisse/Balears rider and aspiring male model Xabier Zandio, I say don’t quit your day job.