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Tour of Britain - 2.3

Great Britain, September 1-5, 2004

An interview with Rolf Aldag, August 31, 2004

Better teams make it easier

Rolf Aldag may be 35 years of age but he has been listed by team rider Andreas Klöden as one of those most likely to do well. Speaking to the press at the T-Mobile launch in Manchester on Tuesday, Aldag explained the team's likely tactics for the race and why having rivals like US Postal present is actually welcomed by the German squad, as Shane Stokes writes from Manchester.

Q: Rolf, what is T-Mobile's plan for the race?

Rolf Aldag in action
Photo ©: Franklin Tello

Rolf Aldag: I hope we will do well, especially as this race is important to our sponsors. I think there will be a big break on one of the days. We will try to ensure we have a rider in that move and take it from there. For sure we will try to win, otherwise it makes no sense to go to the race.

It will be difficult for us because when you look at the numbers on the backs of the riders you can see straight away that T-Mobile is one of the main sponsors at the Tour of Britain. Then it is difficult. If there is a break then everyone is watching you, expecting us to do the work and bring back the breakaway.

Q: How difficult is it to control a race such as this?

RA: We will have just five or six riders here so that makes it more difficult. In other races you might have two captains and perhaps another six riders to do the riding during the stage. But there aren't six riders to do that here and so we really have to be careful from the first kilometre on. We have to stay right up the front and make sure we keep an eye on things.

Sooner or later in the race you will find the other teams with the same interests. If for example Quick.Step Davitamon want to control the race for Tom Boonen and if we have the overall leader, then you have eight guys in total who are trying to keep things under control. Four riders from us and four riders from Quick.Step. In a situation like that, everything comes together well.

Q: The quality of the field looks to be very high, with some saying it is the best pro field ever assembled at a British race. US Postal, for example, look very strong with four of their Tour riders here. Will they be a big danger?

Aldag and teammates
Photo ©: Sirotti
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RA: US Postal has certainly sent a strong team to the race but in ways that can work out well for us. It is clearly an important race for them too, otherwise they wouldn't send such good riders. If, for example, they get someone in a break then they would control the race. They are one of the teams who can do that if they want to. In contrast, if someone else is leading from a really small team then the next day it is really, really dangerous with attacks from the beginning and the chance that another big breakaway is going to get clear. Nobody knows what will happen in a situation like that, it is very unpredictable.

In some ways, having big teams here is an advantage. If we already know the riders from other races, it is useful. We know them, we know what they do, how they react in certain situations and what kind of riders they are. It is good for us. So we don't worry about teams like US Postal, we are kind of happy to see them here.

There are some other teams here that perhaps we wouldn't race with too often. The problem with that is that if it comes to a sprint with a group of seven or eight riders and you don't know six of them, then it is really difficult to win the stage. So it is nice to see other riders from Europe, from races such as the Tour as it makes things easier.

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