Mountain bikers Lado and Manuel Fumic are leaving Germany for Croatia. They will ride for that country in the future and have applied to register their "Fumic Brothers International" team with the International Cycling Union as a Croatian team.
The two brothers said in a statement released this week that they haven't found the "stability and support" that they are looking for from the German federation, the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR). They were suspended for three months last year for failure to properly report their whereabouts. Their suspension was later lifted on a technicality.
"Although we never had anything to do with performance manipulation and were tested more than 100 times without ever showing any kind of irregularities our own federation, almost arbitrarily, last year brought down undeserved bad headlines on us," the statement said. "Just because we fully justifiably criticised the whereabouts requirement and the management techniques of the Federation. That was very damaging sports-wise and personally very disappointing."
They are moving to Croatia, where they have family ties. "Croatia finds itself with a new start - in sport, in tourism, and in its economic development. We see here the possibility to bring not only our sporting performance but think we can help their federation, too." The brothers are setting their aims at riding for their new country in the London 2012 Olympics.
Between them, Lado, 32, and Manuel, 26, have 12 German titles, one Under 23 world title, one Under 23 European title, and appearances in the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Manuel is the current German national champion.