By Susan Westemeyer
Deutsche Telekom's withdrawal from professional cycling has slammed a door closed for German rider Jörg Jaksche. The suspended rider, who rode for Team Telekom from 1998 to 2000, had hoped to return to it when his suspension is up next year.
Jaksche confessed in July to having used EPO (Erythropoietin) and other products throughout his entire career, claiming that Team Polti manager Gianluigi Stanga introduced him to doping in 1997. Jaksche was given a one-year suspension, which would at least theoretically allow him to ride the Tour de France next summer.
He has made no secret of the fact that he wanted to come back to the peloton, and specifically to the Team T-Mobile. According to the German news magazine Spiegel, sponsor Deutsche Telekom wanted the team to hire him when he is again eligible to ride, although the team's management repeatedly denied interest in Jaksche. However, now that sponsor has disappeared from the scene, and with it, the impetus to hire Jaksche.
"An idea failed, and it was the only reasonable one," the 31 year-old said. "The withdrawal has closed a door for me.
"This isn't the way I want to leave the sport," Jaksche concluded. "I would like to ride for a German team. Germany has become very sensitive to the doping problem."