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24th Rothaus Regio-Tour International - 2.1
Germany, August 20-24, 2008
By Bjorn Haake
With almost 700 kilometres to cover in five days the Regio Tour will be a strenuous work week for the majority of the peloton. Constant effort will be required right up until the end of the tough traditional final stage in Vogtsburg for anyone with overall aspirations. Only then will the winner be able to relax and enjoy a giant mug of beer from main sponsor Rothaus.
Started by Rudi Renz in 1985 as an amateur event, the tour became a professional event in 1994. With all the doping scandals over the last couple of years the main sponsors requested the race return to its roots and amateur status. This year, the Regio Tour will be held one last time for professionals, before reverting back to the amateur format in 2009.
The organisers also decided to un-invite the CSF Navigare team, following the announcement that Emanuele Sella tested positive for EPO.
Rudi Renz decided to not go out with a star studded field before the race will drop in significance. Last year, all eyes were on riders like Alessandro Petacchi. He won a stage and the sprinters jersey, but was also implicated in a - somewhat bizarre - doping scandal.
This year, the most famous names are Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Björn Thurau (the son of former yellow jersey Didi), 1999 overall winner Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), 2005 overall winner Nico Sijmens (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner), Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone Caffe Mokambo) and Australian Luke Roberts, who now rides for the German Kuota - Senges team after two seasons with CSC.
Last year, T-Mobile was also part of the race. Their switch to American soil, and subsequent non start this year will leave only three ProTour teams at the start in Schliengen. Gerolsteiner and Rabobank have the two biggest favourites for the overall win with Fothen and Niermann, respectively. Milram has Björn Schröder and the young and very talented Dominik Roels, but they may not be enough against the German and Dutch power houses.
The Spanish team Contentpolis Murcia will be hot contenders for some stage victories. After all, the winner of the final stage in the 2007 race, Adrián Palomares, is in its line-up.
The German teams racing on home soil, 3C Gruppe, Team Mapei Heizomat and the U23 national team, will naturally be very motivated. But more than a stage win would be a real surprise.
Andy Cappelle (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) will also be targeting another stage win after a fine performance in last years race which saw him win a stage by almost five minutes. Two Swiss teams, Atlas Romer's Hausbäckerei and Stegcomputer, complete the local hero section, with many riders coming from or training in the Regio, the three-country area of Switzerland, France and Germany.
The original race always strived to go through all three of these countries, but over the years Switzerland backed out and France was reduced to one stage.
Traditional route offers familiar pain
The race will be structured much like in the last couple of years. The opening stage, the Markgräflerland-Etappe, will take in the beauty of the southern most area of Germany. Several sprints are at stake in a mostly flat stage. But the Col de Blauen is over 1,100 metres high. With only 31 kilometres left before the finish, a group may get away. It may not make much of a difference in the overall, but a stage victory is certainly a nice souvenir from the Black Forest.
The second stage is entirely ridden in France, with the biggest obstacle along the 181 kilometres route being the Col du Bannstein. It is less than half the height of the Blauen, at 483 metres, but its three-peat will make sure the sprinters will have a hard time, even though last year Alessandro Petacchi was strong enough to prevail.
In the third stage everybody will make sure that the mistake from last year won't be repeated. In 2007, Andy Capelle broke away early and eventually finished almost five minutes ahead of everybody else. But the favourites will certainly be thinking about saving some energy for the next day, with the decisive time trial on the menu.
Unlike last year's very hilly course, this year's race against the clock is mostly flat, with three freeway crossings (two overpasses and one underpass) the only exceptions. Held mostly on small farm roads, the biggest danger could be a mechanical. The circuit with start and finish in the heart of Gundelfingen near Freiburg will ensure that everyone gets to enjoy some tail-, cross- and headwind.
The final stage is once again the "King's stage". The first 50 kilometres are flat. Then the final circuit will be reached in the vineyards. A steep section culminates on the KOM point "Auf dem Eck" (meaning "on the corner"). The loop is 16.5 kilometres long. It will have to be completed seven times, including the neck breaking descent.
Gerolsteiner Team Milram 1 Markus Fothen (Ger) 11 Dominik Roels (Ger) 2 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) 12 Björn Schröder (Ger) 3 Nico Keinath (Ger) 13 Sebastian Schwager (Ger) 4 Volker Ordowski (Ger) 14 Simon Geschke (Ger) 5 Ronny Scholz (Ger) 15 Arne Hassink (Ned) 6 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) 16 Mitja Schlüter (Ger) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner Joker - Bianchi 21 Bert De Waele (Bel) 31 Joachim Bøhler (Nor) 22 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) 32 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) 23 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) 33 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) 24 Benjamin Gourgue (Bel) 34 Stian Sommerseth (Nor) 25 Kevin Neirynck (Bel) 35 Svein Vold (Nor) 26 Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) 36 Frederik Willmann (Nor) U23 German National Team Contentpolis - Murcia 41 Stefan Schäfer (Ger) 51 Manuel Calvente Corbas (Spa) 42 Phillip Ries (Ger) 52 Javier Chacon Quesasa (Spa) 43 John Degenkolb (Ger) 53 Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) 44 Dominique Nerz (Ger) 54 Pedro Vera Alcaraz (Spa) 45 Martin Reimer (Ger) 55 Manuel Vazquez Hueso (Spa) 46 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) 56 Rafael Serrano Fernandez (Spa) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo Team Kuota - Senges 71 Dario Andriotto (Ita) 81 Björn Glasner (Ger) 72 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) 82 Matthias Bertling (Ger) 73 Andrei Kunitski (Blr) 83 Laurent Didier (Lux) 74 Luca Paolini (Ita) 84 Malaya Van Ruitenbeck (Ned) 75 Diego Milán Jiménez (Spa) 85 Stefan Ganser (Ger) 76 Andrea Rossi (Ita) 86 Thom Van Dulmen (Ned) Rietumu Bank-Riga Team 3C - Gruppe Lamonta 91 Roman Koltsov (Rus) 101 Sergej Fuchs (Ger) 92 Sergey Firsanov (Rus) 102 Frank Scherzinger (Ger) 93 Alexander Mironov (Rus) 103 Domenik Klemme (Ger) 94 Mart Ojavee (Est) 104 Voß Paul (Ger) 95 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) 105 Dennis Pohl (Ger) 96 Ivan Seledkov (Rus) 106 Björn Papstein (Ger) LPR Brakes Atlas - Romer's Hausbäckerei 111 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) 121 Marius Bernatonis (Ltu) 112 Walter Proch (Ita) 122 Andreas Henig (Ger) 113 Claudio Cucinotta (Ita) 123 Reto Hollenstein (Swi) 114 Giairo Ermeti (Ita) 124 Timo Honstein (Ger) 115 Sergio Laganà (Ita) 125 Nico Schndeider (Ger) 116 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) 126 Fabien Wolf (Swi) Stegcomputer - CKT - Cogeas Adria Mobil 131 Timo Albiez (Ger) 141 Uros Murn (Slo) 132 Peter Joerg (Swi) 142 Marko Kump (Slo) 133 Michael Haiser (Ger) 143 Jure Zrimsek (Slo) 134 Tigran Korkotyan (Arm) 144 Joze Senekovic (Slo) 135 Janusch Laule (Swi) 145 Benjamin Cujnik (Slo) 136 Benjamin Stauder (Ger) 146 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Team Mapei Heizomath Elk Haus - Simplon 151 Michael Franzl (Ger) 161 Jochen Summer (Aut) 152 Sebastian Hans (Ger) 162 Markus Eibegger (Aut) 153 David Hesselbarth (Ger) 163 Steffen Radochla (Ger) 154 Kim Lachmann (Ger) 164 Björn Thurau (Ger) 155 Robert Retschke (Ger) 165 Harald Starzengruber (Aut) 156 Daniel Westmattelmann (Ger) 166 Clemens Fankhauser (Aut) Centri Della Calzatura-Partizan Rabobank 171 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) 181 Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) 172 Artur Krol (Pol) 182 Theo Eltink (Ned) 173 Dmitri Nikandrov (Rus) 183 Pieter Weening (Ned) 174 Luca Zanasca (Ita) 184 Paul Martens (Ger) 175 Esad Hasanovic (Srb) 185 Grischa Niermann (Ger) 176 Zsolt Der (Srb) 186 William Walker (Aus)
2007 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Agritubel 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