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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Telekom
TEAM PROFILE
Erik Zabel
Country: Germany
Manager: Walter Godefroot
Best Tour: Winner, 1996 (Bjarne Riis), 1997 (Jan Ullrich), six green jerseys, Eric Zabel (1996-2001)
Exit Jan Ullrich and enter Santiago Botero and Paolo Savoldelli in a straight switch for the German giants.

Botero was the one man capable of pushing Lance Armstrong in last year's race when he surprisingly beat him in the first main time trial of the race.

But the Colombian does not have quite the overall ability of Ullrich for all his efforts.

Despite that, he looks certain to steal the team's attention over the three weeks and should benefit from a far more capable outfit than he had previously at Kelme.

Savoldelli, winner of last year's Giro d'Italia, should also offer a capable sidekick, if not alternative.

Once again the team will be doubling up in their glory bids, with German sprinter Erik Zabel aiming to win back his green jersey off Robbie McEwen.

Zabel already has six successive green jerseys under his belt.

But he failed to beat the challenge of McEwen in 2002. At his best, though, he is still arguably the world's best sprinter.

The fact that the team will not be focusing solely on him, as they did last year, could see his challenge falter.

Central to Zabel's cause will be lead-out man Gian Matteo Fagnini, who has been picked for the Tour solely to help the German and cropped up half a kilometre before the finish of almost any sprint to help his man.

The team is not just about Zabel, Botero and Savoldelli and, in Americans Bobby Julich and Kevin Livingstone, they have two experienced riders capable of lasting the distance.

They might also enjoy the absence of Ullrich, as could Kazakh Alexandre Vinoukorov, who has flourished at times this season.

Telekom have grown restless by their lack of success in recent seasons in France.

They took the yellow jersey two years in a row courtesy of first Bjarne Riis (1996) and Ullrich the second year.

But they have since had to make do with second best behind Armstrong and the US Postal train.





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