By Susan Westemeyer
Bernhard Eisel of Team High Road knows what he won't do this year: he won't be Olympic champion or World champion, because he has already decided that he won't participate in either event. Neither course suits him, he said, so why should he take the place of another rider, who would have a better chance?
In an interview with laola.at, he said that he has already notified the Austrian federation of his decision. "Beijing is simply not my race, I don't need to force my way in. If I drop out after two laps of a course that I know doesn't suit me in the first place, then I'm not going to make any friends." He feels the same about the Worlds in Varese. "This course also is not made for me."
Instead, the Austrian is concentrating on the Tour de France, despite the presence of many high-powered sprint rivals on the team, such as ProTour leader André Greipel, Gerald Ciolek and Mark Cavendish. "After France it would be impossible to motivate myself again for the Olympics," he noted. "So I'd rather take it easy and then have a good autumn with the Vuelta [a España] or Tour of Poland."
The 26 year-old rode in the Olympic road race in Athens in 2004, but did not finish. Austria sent four riders that year, but this year can only nominate two. He said that he would pick two from Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), Christian Pfannberger (Barloworld) and Gerrit Glomser (Volksbank). "In top form, any of them can ride with the best in Beijing."
Eisel recently won the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve, after attacking out of an escape group.