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23rd Rothaus Regio-Tour International - 2.1
Germany, August 22-26, 2007
By Bjorn Haake
The 23rd edition of the Regio Tour takes place again in the three country region of Germany, France and Switzerland, even though the latter has not been included in the past few editions and France is restricted to one stage this year. But this five-day race has become very popular among professionals and past stage winners include the likes of Lance Armstrong, Robbie McEwen and the overall win was taken by none other than Mario Cipollini in 1987, even though it can't be called a sprinter's race per se.
The Black Forest, known for its hilly terrain will be touched as well as the wine region of the Kaiserstuhl. While the latter is not particularly high, the short climbs are pretty steep.
The first stage is entirely in France, from Lutterbach to Soultz over 183 kilometres. But even though this is the Alsace region with the Vosges mountain range that gets frequently included in the Tour de France, it is a fairly flat affair, with the non-climbers counting on the Rhine delta to keep things together. There will be one KOM, but it is only 50 kilometres into the race and will not necessarily take the sprinters out of the picture.
Stage two over 169 kilometres from Müllheim to Neuenburg is on the other side of the Rhine river, in Germany. This time, there is a more serious climb, the Blauen, less than 40 kilometres from the finish. It reaches up over 1,100 metres.
The third stage, from Wehr to Schopfheim over 160 kilometres, leads into the Black Forest. The riders will go through Todtmoos, which is in the heart of the hiking and skiing area, before dropping back down and eventually finishing with a category two climb that has to be passed three times.
Next up is a real killer and likely decide the outcome of the race. The 26-kilometre individual time trial is about as hard as it can get, other than a mountain time trial. The riders will start in Sexau and after only 2 kilometres will have to face the climb up the Hochburg, which has a gradient of more than 10 percent. After a screaming descent the riders reach Emmendingen, the county's capital and turn right again.
The right turn spells more uphill, as they will struggle past Tennenbach and up to the Allmendsberg, which goes through a forested area first before reaching an open plateau that levels out at 419 metres of altitude. Once the riders hit the main road again, a gentle incline will make everyone reach the high point of the race at 435 metres. From there it is mostly downhill, past the Sägplatz with its saw mills and then the flat road back to Sexau, where the riders can expect a little bit of head wind, to make them work for the finish line.
The final stage will go from Lahr through the Ortenau on flat roads down south to the area of Vogtsburg, where the tradition will make them finish on a circuit that culminates in a category one climb, to be done six times, even though the KOM points are only awarded three times. The climb is known as the "Texas Pass" and will be included in a race open to the public prior to the final stage on Sunday morning.
Some of the directeur sportifs consider this 15-kilometre loop course worthy of a World Championships course and while the organisers think it would be great for the region and the thought has crossed their minds in the past, there haven't been any real specific efforts to get it going.
The organisers managed to get a great field of riders again this year. The German teams will be of course very motivated and T-Mobile announced the return of its star rider, Michael Rogers of Australia, who tragically crashed out of the Tour de France on stage eight. The 27 year-old noted that "I can move my right arm again to 95 percent following my shoulder injury." The Aussie has been training for a while and revealed that "the race in Beijing was a good test for the Regio Tour."
Directeur Sportif Jan Schaffrath cautioned that "we certainly don't expect to much from Mick right now. The profile is tough and there aren't many flat parts."
Rogers will be accompanied by power houses Marcus Burghardt and Bert Grabsch, allrounder Stephan Schreck and sprinter André Korff. The last spot is assigned to Andrey Klyuev, who will have his third race as a stagiaire for the magenta troupe.
Gerolsteiner decided to send some of its locals, like Tim Klinger, who lives pretty much on the time trial course and Matthias Russ of Oberried. Russ also won a stage last year. So did Torsten Hiekmann, who is also back in the line-up alongside Italian Andrea Moletta, the Swiss duo of Beat Zberg and Oliver Zaugg and German Volker Ordowski. Gerolsteiner also has a stagiaire with Thomas Wagner.
Next in line is Milram, who sends its star sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi. Unlike other ProTour races, the Italian is welcome despite the controversy around his doping case.
Wiesenhof in its last year sends a team with Felix Odebrecht, who lives in the area, as well as Daniel Musiol, Torsten Schmidt and the experienced Jörg Ludewig. They also got a special permission from the UCI to let mountain biker Ralph Näf race for the German squad.
There used to be a regional team put together for the Regio Tour, but this wasn't necessary as Atlas Romer's Hausbäckerei, a German team with a Swiss sponsor, mostly uses local boys, like Martin Lang (Ihringen), Alexander Gut (Vogtsburg), Andreas Hernig (Badenweiler), Nico Schneider (Laufenburg) and Uwe Hardter (Freiburg). The last rider in the squad is Björn Thurau. Yes, there is a relation to Didi Thurau, the German who held yellow for 15 days in the 1977 Tour de France. Björn is his son.
A German Under 23 selection, Regiostrom Senges, Sparkasse and Lamonta 3C are other German teams on the start line, along with some Italian teams (Selle Italia, Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo and Tenax). Fuerteventura-Canarias will be the only Spanish outfit, while Agritubel, a team that has particiapted at the Tour de France, will fly the French flag. Tinkoff with Ignatiev, fresh off a win in the Tour of Burgos, will surely continue to ride aggressive races and spend a lot of time ahead of the peloton. The Belgian Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner completes the field.
Plenty of great names and great stars to make for a great Tour!
Gerolsteiner T-Mobile Team 1 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) 11 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) 2 Tim Klinger (Ger) 12 Bert Grabsch (Ger) 3 Andrea Moletta (Ita) 13 André Klyuev (Rus) 4 Volker Ordowski (Ger) 14 André Korff (Ger) 5 Matthias Russ (Ger) 15 Michael Rogers (Aus) 6 Thomas Wagner (Ger) 16 Stephan Schreck (Ger) 7 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) 8 Beat Zberg (Swi) Team Milram Tinkoff Credit Systems 21 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) 31 Daniele Contrini (Ita) 22 Brett Lancaster (Aus) 32 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) 23 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) 33 Elio Aggiano (Ita) 24 Sebastian Schwager (Ger) 34 Steffen Weigold (Ger) 25 Elia Rigotto (Ita) 35 Alexander Gottfried (Ger) 26 Marco Velo (Ita) 36 Nicolai Trusov (Rus) 27 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) 37 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) 38 Alexander Serov (Rus) German U23 Team Agritubel 41 Michael Franzl (Ger) 51 Linas Balciunas (Ltu) 42 Dominik Roels (Ger) 52 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu) 43 Nikolai Schwarz (Ger) 53 Manuel Calvente Gorbas (Spa) 44 Marcel Kittel (Ger) 55 Cédric Hervé (Fra) 45 Stefan Schäfer (Ger) 56 Juan Miguel Mercado Martin (Spa) 46 Marcel Fischer (Ger) 57 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) 48 Nico Keinath (Ger) 58 Jonathan Thire (Fra) Tenax Salmilano Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 61 Claudio Cucinotta (Ita) 71 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) 62 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) 72 Francesco Di Paolo (Ita) 63 Luca Sabatino (Ita) 73 Alessandro Donati (Ita) 64 Sergio Lagana (Ita) 74 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) 65 Honorio Machado Perez (Ven) 75 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) 66 Micula De Matteis (Ita) 76 Aurélien Passeron (Fra) 67 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) 77 Andrea Rossi (Ita) 68 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Team Regiostrom - Senges Team Wiesenhof Felt 81 Malaya Van Ruitebeek (Ned) 91 Felix Odebrecht (Ger) 82 Yannick Maus (Ger) 92 Artur Gajek (Ger) 83 Wolfram Wiese (Ger) 93 Robert Retschke (Ger) 84 Konstantin Schubert (Ger) 94 Martin Velits (Svk) 85 Stefan Ganser (Ger) 95 Daniel Musiol (Ger) 86 Laurent Didier (Lux) 96 Torsten Schmidt (Ger) 87 Maint Berkenbosch (Ned) 97 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) 88 Hans-Jürgen Juretzek (Ger) 98 Ralph Naef (Swi) Team 3C - Gruppe Lamonta Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni- Selle Italia 101 Sergej Fuchs (Ger) 111 Niklas Axelsson (Swe) 102 Elnathan Heizmann (Ger) 112 Bruno Bertolini (Ita) 103 Erik Hoffmann (Nam) 113 Denis Bertolini (Ita) 104 Sören Hoffmann (Ger) 114 Alberto Loddo (Ita) 105 Björn Papstein (Ger) 115 Giorgio Orizio (Ita) 106 Sebastian Pristl (Ger) 116 Philippe Schnyder (Swi) 107 Paul Voss (Ger) 117 Mattia Turrina (Ita) 108 Frank Scherzinger (Ger) 118 Frederico Vitali (Ita) Atlas - Romer's Hausbäckerei Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner 121 Guiseppe Ribolzi (Swi) 131 Jean-Claude Lebeau (Bel) 122 Alexander Gut (Ger) 132 Andy Cappelle (Bel) 123 Marcel Wyss (Swi) 133 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) 124 Andreas Henig (Ger) 134 Paul Manning (GBr) 125 Björn Thurau (Ger) 135 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) 126 Nico Schneider (Ger) 136 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) 127 Uwe Hardter (Ger) 137 Nico Sijmens (Bel) 128 Martin Lang (Ger) 138 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Fuerteventura - Canarias Team Sparkasse 141 Rodrigo Garcia Rena (Spa) 151 Richard Faltus (Cze) 142 Iker Flores Galarza (Spa) 152 Timo Honstein (Ger) 143 Mikel Artetxe Gezuraga (Spa) 153 Dirk Müller (Ger) 144 David Belda Garcia (Spa) 154 Jonas Owaczarek (Ger) 145 Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) 155 Stefan Parinussa (Ger) 146 Adrian Palomares Villaplana (Spa) 156 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) 147 Dailos Diaz Armas (Spa) 157 Tilo Schüler (Ger) 148 Iker Leonet Iza (Spa) 158 Lars Wackernagel (Ger)
2006 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team 2005 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2004 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 2003 Volodimir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 2002 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour 2001 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour 2000 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Amica Chips 1999 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank 1998 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Polti 1997 Viatcheslav Djavanian (Rus) Roslotto 1996 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom 1995 Roberto Pistore (Ita) Team Polti 1994 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Castorama 1993 Pascal Hervé (Fra) Amateur 1992 Dainis Ozols (Lat) Amateur 1991 Alexander Kastenhuber (Ger) Nordrhein-Westfalen 1990 Alexandre Shefer (Kaz) Amateur 1989 Falk Boden (GDR) Amateur 1988 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) Amateur 1987 Mario Cipollini (Ita) Amateur 1986 Flavio Vanzella (Ita) Amateur 1985 Uli Rottler (Ger) Schüller-Derby Berlin Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com