By Susan Westemeyer
Andreas Klöden wanted to ride in front of his German fans after his podium finish at the Tour de France, but will have to wait to do so. And whose fault is that? The team's, according to him.
"I would have liked to greet my fans in Germany, but the team did not allow me to start in the pairs time trial in Bühl, as well as other smaller races and criteriums," Klöden complained on his homepage, www.andreas-kloeden.com.
The 31 year-old rode at least one criterium after the Tour, though. He finished second in Graz, Austria, and will also ride the Entega Grand Prix Rund um die Volksbank, held in Lorsch on August 10.
Welt magazine claimed that Klöden and teammate Steffen Wesemann were removed from the starting list for the Cyclassics and the Deutschland Tour due to their expressions of sympathy and support for Jan Ullrich. This support goes against the grain of the T-Mobile Team management, according to the magazine.
However, Klöden noted on his website that he would liked to have ridden the Deutschland Tour, but chose not to. "After my shoulder operation, it cost me a lot of work, strength and morale to start in the Tour de France in top form," he wrote.
"As the captain and rider for the GC, I had to give my all every day and couldn't even rest on the flat stages. I think everyone will understand if I give my body a little peace and quiet and don't immediately ride another difficult stage race.
"My next race will probably be the Regio-Tour (starting August 16), but I will make the final decision at a later time." Klöden's trainer, Thomas Schediwe, assumes he will start that race and told www.radsport-aktiv.de: "We will decide at the Regio-Tour what he will race after that."