Astana not welcome at Deutschland Tour

"Astana will have a problem with us. We don't see them at the start," said Kai Rapp, director of the...

"Astana will have a problem with us. We don't see them at the start," said Kai Rapp, director of the upcoming Deutschland Tour. In an interview with Spiegel Online he said that "We will have a co-worker, especially hired for this, look at the vita of every rider registered to ride. He won't do anything else. If he finds problems, then the rider will have a problem."

By excluding Astana, the Tour will lose out on German star Andreas Klöden, but that doesn't bother Rapp, who noted that Klöden wasn't there last year. "In 2006 he decided he would rather ride criteriums." Rapp doubted that the German would be able to distance himself from the Astana team. "Alexander Vinokourov and Matthias Kessler are his friends, and they need friends like him now. We respect his loyalty. The problem is that his attempts to distance himself from these things just do not come across convincingly."

Rapp has no problem with T-Mobile or Cofidis. "We will carefully check out how the teams have reacted to the cases. Have they tried to cover up? What consequences have they taken? The voluntarily withdrawal of the team after the Cofidis rider Moreni's doping case persuaded me, for example."

He added that he hoped that the sponsor T-Mobile would not leave cycling. "The consequences would be tragic. T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner could accomplish a lot in the fight against doping, with the German market in the background. This market is very important for everyone involved in cycling. If they left, it would be a catastrophe."

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