By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Eisel isn't quite ready to bury his own ambitions and limit his role to preparing sprints for his younger and faster colleagues, as he indicated in an interview earlier this week. "I'm not giving up, I still have goals," he said in a press conference in Vienna, according to sport1.at.
For him, that means "Back to the Roots" – the Spring Classics, which have always been his first love. He is even willing to sacrifice the Tour de France. "The Tour would be great, because it is the biggest thing in cycling and therefore important to me too. But my full concentration for the next season will be on the Classics," he said. He rode the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix this year, but finished well back in both. "Maybe because I was sick before the races or because I trained too much sprinting? I don't know, but I don't want to search for excuses, either."
He looks optimistically to cycling's future, and thinks that the sport is getting a grip on its doping problem. "If T-Mobile had stopped sponsoring, then cycling in Germany would be dead. Other sponsors would have followed their example. But this way, things will continue."
"No one will ever have doping entirely under control," he admitted. "There are always dumb people around and there always will be, and in every sport."
The Austrian added that the T-Mobile riders are also financially involved in the fight against doping, as they are required to pay three percent of their annual income to the German National Anti-Doping Agency. "With a total of six million euro yearly salaries, that comes to quite a bit."