Last year's winner of the Tour de Berlin, Michael Franzl, will not defend his title in 2008. The rider of the Mapei-Heizomat team has gotten sick and will not be able to line up at the start of the four-day race, which will start tomorrow. Franzl will be replaced by Jens Grewe.
The defending champion already felt it coming on. "I was already feeling weak and empty the last couple of weeks." After a thorough examination by the doctors, he was ordered to rest and not train for a few days. "Sure, I would have liked to started as last year's winner. But you can't pick and choose [when to get sick and when not ]," Franzl remained fairly calm about his non-start. By the end of the week he should have an exact diagnosis.
Already the race around the Henninger Turm did not go according to plan, and Franzl had to abandon, while the rest of the team rode very well. Robert Retschke was in the main break of the day for a ling time, and Kim Lachman and Sebastian Hans were able to get mountain points as well. Retschke finished in 18th place, while Hans ended up in 15th of the mountains classification.
Mapei-Heizomat will now send Sebastian Hans, Kim Lachmann, Jonas Schmeiser, Florian Völk, Daniel Westmattelmann and Jens Grewe to Berlin, hoping to take out the overall title anyway.