By Susan Westemeyer
"If it really happens that one of the riders whose name appears on the [Eufemiano] Fuentes list rides in the Deutschland Tour, then we will react accordingly," said Christian Frommert, spokesman of T-Mobile, sponsor of the Germany-based team. He did not say how the sponsor of its home tour would react, but that it would "be noticeable."
Deutschland Tour director Kai Rapp said last November that he would not allow those riders to start in his race, specifically naming Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. He told the dpa press agency at that time that he was willing to face any legal problems connected with banning the riders, "no matter how much it hurts." Ullrich has since announced his retirement, but Basso continues to ride in the peloton as part of a ProTour team.
However, Rapp changed his tune at the Tour presentation this week, according to the Kolner Stadt Anzeige (KSTA). "It would be up to the federation to prevent Basso from starting," he said. "It is important to us that if he at some point does start, that he is not doped." Rapp said that he did not wish to participate in a "witch hunt", and added that "no organizer in the world has the right or the duty to work out the whole Fuentes scandal."
Frommert did not specify how T-Mobile might react if Basso or another Fuentes-listed rider were at the start of the race. The KSTA speculated that the T-Mobile team might boycott the race, or that the company T-Mobile might withdraw as one of the major sponsors of the race, which would probably cause the race to be cancelled.