Four days before the traditional Easter Monday one-day race Rund um Köln in Cologne, Germany, organiser Artur Tabat still doesn't have the full start list to his event. The 93rd edition of the race should, in principle, see only national teams at the start, as German TV broadcaster WDR forced Tabat to find a new format.
Only few professional riders have answered the request to race as their team sponsors don't endorse the broadcaster's idea.
Team Milram riders could still line up in national team jerseys, if the German cycling federation calls on them. In that case, team manager Gerry van Gerwen will let his riders participate, but without the usual race support (in-race car, material and assistants).
"We are currently negotiating with the federation," Alexander Donike, technical director of the event told KSTA.de.
The chance to see Milram riders in national team jerseys at Rund um Köln is at "85 per cent" according to Donike. He would be very pleased to announce the participation of Gerald Ciolek, Christian Knees, Cologne native Dominik Roels and Tour de France stage winner Linus Gerdemann in order to attract more spectators.
At the moment, the organiser confirmed 13 teams of eight riders. The field will include riders from Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria and Ukraine.
By letting only national teams take the start, TV station WDR and the organiser hope to reduce the appeal of doping. "The riders can participate in the event without the pressure of having to advertise their brands," said Tabat.
Still, a victory can also be motivation enough to use prohibited substances. (HK)