By Susan Westemeyer
Robert Retschke's problems started last year when his German Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt announced that it would stop as of the end of the year. He was supposed to ride for the Italian Professional Continental Team NGC Medical this year, but that fell through at the last minute, and now he has ended up at the Continental Team Mapei Heizomat.
Retschke, 27, had signed with NGC Medical, along with fellow German Konstantin Schubert, and was looking forward to riding the Giro d'Italia this season. But a deal between the team and the German bike manufacturer Storck fell through, and without the German sponsor, the team no longer wanted the two German riders. "I couldn't believe it, when I heard that," Retschke told radsport-aktiv.de. I was absolutely sure that I would ride for this team, and then suddenly I was standing there empty-handed, in the middle of January. There was nothing I could do, despite a signed contract. The Italians would simply never have used me in a race the whole season."
He applied to the ProTour Team Milram and the Continental Team Sparkasse, but without success. The beginning of February, however, he signed with Mapei Heizomat, which is led by his former Wiesenhof Directeur Sportif Markus Schleicher. Retschke is looking forward to his new start. "I will be very motivated and am convinced that I can bring in some good results again in 2008" – even if his season highlight will be the Bayern Rundfahrt instead of the Giro d'Italia