The vice president for communication and marketing of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR - the German national federation) has quit in protest over the decision to nominate Erik Zabel to the preliminary team for the World Championships. The head of the World's organizing committee also criticized the nomination of the 37 year-old German who admitted to EPO usage in 1996. The Worlds are to be held in Stuttgart on September 30.
"I am very sorry to have to do this. But I can no longer credibly serve as vice president of communications for the federation if it follows the course presented by the president," Dieter Kühnle said, according to the sid agency. Federation President Rudolf Scharping had supported Zabel's nomination. Kühnle said that he was in favour of supporting a new generation of cyclists, but that this was opposed, especially by Scharping. "The BDR should have shown its courage, but this signal didn't occur."
"We are anything other than happy over this decision in favour of Zabel," Susanne Eisenmann, director of the Worlds organizing committee told the Stuttgart Zeitung. "In the light of a credible new beginning, you have to ask whether this was a clever decision. I personally don't think so."
There will be no action to exclude the German rider from participating, she said. "We have to accept it, and it will be up to the BDR as to how they present it to the public."