Team Phonak on Track for 2005

News & Results

01/20/2005| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
2005 Phonak riders approch the new season. Photo copyright Murphy Heiniger.
2005 Phonak riders approch the new season. Photo copyright Murphy Heiniger.

Team Phonak on Track for 2005

With a new team management staff for 2005, Phonak aims to reestablish its position as one of the world?s top cycling teams.

With a new team management for 2005, the Phonak team aims to reestablish its position as one of the world?s top cycling teams. <?xml:namespace prefix = o /?>



The Swiss professional team enters the new season having undergone several changes during the winter break. In addition to eleven new riders, including Floyd Landis and Victor Hugo Pena, the team also made significant changes to its management staff. John Lelangue has been introduced as the new team manager and Juan Fernandez has joined the team as new director sportif. With the hiring of the 34-year-old Belgian John Lelangue, Phonak is hoping to regain its position as one of the best teams in the world.



In the Phonak camp there is the firm belief that, with the new management, Phonak is heading towards a more sustainable, secure, successful, and ethically convincing future.

After having observed John Lelangue at the training camp on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Majorca, team owner Andy Rihs is convinced that he has welcomed on board the ideal person as new team boss. Rihs told reporter that ?I came to the realization that the new team definitely works and that the new Team Manager John Lelangue and his management style are coming across very well with the riders, director sportifs, and support staff. I sense a good, commanding structure.?

Lelangue has been closely involved in international cycling for around 15 years, and during that time he has built up an extensive network of relationships and contacts that are now likely to benefit the Phonak team ? not least when working to obtain a wild card for this year?s Tour de France. Lelangue initially worked for the Belgian Olympic Committee and then spent 10 years working for the Tour de France. In addition, the Belgian is a qualified racing cyclist trainer and speaks five languages.



Securing the season, planning for the future

One of Lelangue?s first official actions for the Phonak team was to sign on Spaniard Juan Fernandez as new sports director. According to Lelangue, the 48-year-old former cycling pro has extensive experience on the international cycling scene. As sports director, he has led teams such as Clas Cajastur (1989-1994), Mapei (1995-1996), Festina (1999-2001), and Coast (2002). He will carry out his duties alongside the team?s present sport directors, Frenchman Jacques Michaud and Swiss Ren? Savary.

Another main task for Lelangue is to secure as many wildcards as possible for 2005, so that the team can take part in the most important classics and stage races ? particularly the Tour de France. At the same time, Lelangue is to prepare for the 2006 season with the two clear goals of attaining a license for the UCI ProTour and finding a new main sponsor.



Realistically optimistic

Lelangue is confident that the team?s lofty goals can be reached. ?After having been 10 years with the Tour de France, I?m looking forward to this challenge. I?m taking over a team that is among the absolute top teams in international cycling in terms of riders, organization and financial base.? Lelangue also pointed out that


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