Sounds like Falcon, flies like one
By Les Clarke
Team Milram's Wim Stroetinga is best known as a member of the Dutch
national track squad. The 23-year-old from Drachten has ridden for several
continental teams since 2005 and makes the jump to the ProTour with
Milram for the 2009 season.
Riding his first Tour Down Under, Stroetinga will be on board one
of the German squad's new Focus Izalco frames, which were unveiled in
team livery during Milram's
presentation in Dortmund earlier this month.
The German company initiated its sponsorship after the relationship
with long-term technical partner Colnago ended was ended following the
2008 season. The fact that Rabobank has also switched to another manufacturer
means that Colnago is no longer represented in the ProTour peloton...
but that's another story for another time.
Milram team mechanic Phillipe Tisma, who hails from Slovenia and had
spent the last three-and-a-half seasons working for the now-defunct
Gerolsteiner squad, told Cyclingnews that the Focus bikes are
a little bit of an unknown to work on at the moment as its early days
of the sponsorship deal.
"For now it [the Izalco] is ok to work on, but we're not finished,"
said Tisma. "Maybe in a month or two there could be a problem or
two, but at the moment it's ok." It's first outing in a ProTour
race the Izalco was better than just 'ok', with this particular rig
being ridden to second
place in the Cancer Council Classic. Stroetinga got close to Katusha's
Robbie McEwen but narrowly missed out on the win.
It was working well on that occasion, and Stroetinga's performance
was a good start for the manufacturer in its ProTour debut.
Tisma explained that it's the same story for the team's wheel supplier,
Lightweight. Previously, the only Milram rider who had used CarbonSports'
premium wheelset had been Erik Zabel,with the veteran German sprinter
maintaining an arrangement to use the highly-desired wheels during his
time at the squad.
Now the entire team is on them, and Tisma has found them to be good,
despite the limited use. In fact, the Tour Down Under will be the first
race for the team on these carbon beauties. "We've only used them
for a training camp for two days, otherwise this will be the first time
we've really used them," said Tisma. He added that the team will
be using two models of Lightweights during the year - the Standard and