By Susan Westemeyer
Team Elk Haus Simplon has had its invitation to the Rund um den Henninger Turm on May 1 cancelled. The reasons given range from doping suspicions to financial problems to the fact that the Austrian Professional Continental team is not a member of the Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC).
The team finds it doubly insulting in light of the fact that its rider Björn Thurau, a Frankfurt native, was invited to attend the press conference announcing the race. "It's illogical for sure," admitted race organiser Bernd Moos-Achenbach to the Austrian newspaper, Die Presse. He said that only teams which were members of the MPCC and German Professional Continental teams would be invited, but this announcement apparently came after the Netherlands agency Cycling Service had already signed an appearance contract with the Austrian team. The newspaper further noted that both Team Milram and Team High Road are expected to participate, although neither is a member of the MPCC.
"We are being sacrificed," complained Elk Haus' Sport Director Bernhard Rassinger, who suspected that German TV sender ARD was behind the action. His suspicions in that direction go back to the Deutschland Tour last year, when his team was un-invited at the last minute, but was able to participate due to a preliminary injunction. "There is nothing against us," Rassinger said, and added that he would have to think about whether to put out the money for the bio passports. "Then it will be before the Deutschland Tour just like it is here at Frankfurt. ARD will say, 'we don't want Elk Haus', and I will have thrown the money away."