"We celebrated the Tour victory for three days, then came the nasty surprise," said Phonak's Bert Grabsch, who is still angry "that all the work for Landis was for nothing". Financially speaking, it was almost nothing as well: instead of the expected €50,000 bonus, the riders received only €1,000 as their share of the premiums.
In an interview on www.supersonntag-web.de, the German rider said: "But what is much worse is the shadow that now hangs over the sport." He urges stronger penalties: "We have a health pass, in which the results of a blood test are entered every quarter year. If they did blood tests instead of urine tests at races, then a lot of riders would be scared off."
Right now, Grabsch is having an involuntary vacation, brought about by a crash in the Deutschland Tour, where he broke his pubic bone in two places. He has to stay off his bike for three to four weeks, and says that if he can't start riding again on Sept. 1, then he will call an end to his season. However, he remains optimistic, planning on a speedy recovery and participation at the ProTour races in Zürich and Paris.
Meanwhile, he has plenty of time to contemplate his future. "I would have nothing against changing my team," he said. "After six years with Phonak, my head feels blocked - I would like to make a new start, doesn't matter where."
According to Grabsch, his management is already 'looking into a new contract, in the direction of Germany'. The only problem is that he still has an existing contract with Phonak through to the 2008 season - but that problem could be eliminated by default, with the team's future still unknown at this point.