By Hedwig Kröner
The German paired time trial LuK Challenge in Bühl, a UCI-rated 1.1 road race, has lost its main backer. According to Radsport aktiv, the supplier for car clutch systems, LuK has ended its sponsorship because recurrent doping scandals have shattered cycling's image this year and cost the sport its credibility.
Organizer Eugen Rösinger is now searching for another sponsor and has already established some contacts. "But it will be hard," said Rösinger, who needs 500,000 Euros to continue running the event, which was won this year by Gerolsteiner's Markus Fothen and Sebastian Lang.
After Operación Puerto, which swept Germany's long-time star Jan Ullrich off the cycling scene (for now), public indignation and media criticism continue to put pressure on the sport and its promoters. The 2007 LuK Challenge was scheduled to take place in early August.