Team Elk Haus has to stop at the end of this season due it sponsor withdrawing from the sport. The withdrawal is due to economic considerations, but cycling's doping problems hurt the team's chances of finding a replacement.
“Cycling has chosen to go the anti-doping route, chosen to make many controls and thus exude the black sheep. In truth, it is has shot itself in the foot,” Team manager Bernhard Rassinger told the Austrian Website LaOla1.at.
He noted that there are other sports “which hide doping and are partially helped by politics. Plus they are controlled much less. Nothing happens to them.” He denounced this “double standard and hypocrisy. When I hear that there were no blood tests at the swimming world championships, that is just crazy.”
His team alone had 103 doping controls in the first half of the 2009 seasons, he noted.
Rassinger said that he did not blame his sponsor Elk Fertighaus for its decision to leave the sport. “Of course I can understand that. It was hard in the last years, and with the change of management they decided to go another direction.
“I want to emphasise that this has no doping background, it deals entirely with economic issues. [Our team] received international recognition and were a permanent part of the international cycling scene. We always worked seriously and never had problems with our riders. There was never gossip about us. And that makes me happy.”
Rassinger said that he will take a year off before hopefully returning in 2011 with a new team. “Several firms want to see a concept. I will work on that over the Christmas holidays, so that I can send it on to the interested parties.”
A main sponsor would have to contribute about €500,000, and the total budget would need to be about 800,000 Euro “When you think about how much is put into other sports, then that must be possible.”