By Bjorn Haake
With almost 700 kilometres to cover in five days the Regio Tour will be a strenuous work week for the majority of the peloton. Constant effort will be required right up until the end of the tough traditional final stage in Vogtsburg for anyone with overall aspirations. Only then will the winner be able to relax and enjoy a giant mug of beer from main sponsor Rothaus.
Started by Rudi Renz in 1985 as an amateur event, the tour became a professional event in 1994. With all the doping scandals over the last couple of years the main sponsors requested the race return to its roots and amateur status. This year, the Regio Tour will be held one last time for professionals, before reverting back to the amateur format in 2009.
The organisers also decided to un-invite the CSF Navigare team, following the announcement that Emanuele Sella tested positive for EPO.
Rudi Renz decided to not go out with a star studded field before the race will drop in significance. Last year, all eyes were on riders like Alessandro Petacchi. He won a stage and the sprinters jersey, but was also implicated in a - somewhat bizarre - doping scandal.
This year, the most famous names are Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Björn Thurau (the son of former yellow jersey Didi), 1999 overall winner Grischa Niermann (Rabobank), 2005 overall winner Nico Sijmens (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner), Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone Caffe Mokambo) and Australian Luke Roberts, who now rides for the German Kuota - Senges team after two seasons with CSC.
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