By Susan Westemeyer
Russia's Denis Menchov was a last-minute addition to the Rabobank Deutschland Tour team, and it turned out to have been a bad idea. The Russian abandoned on the first climb of Saturday's stage one. "After a long and successful season so far, he started this Tour tired," team spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews.
When asked why Menchov, who finished fourth overall in the Tour de France, was in the German race, Eisenga said, "It had always been an idea to have Denis in the Deutschland Tour. Of course, with the Giro, the Tour and the Olympics, one can never be 100 percent sure to be at the start of the races in the autumn. We decided to see how Denis would feel after the Olympics."
Menchov is winless for 2008. His last win came with the 2007 Vuelta a España overall – this year's edition started the same day as Menchov's Deutschland Tour abandon. With Rabobank for four years, his contract runs through 2010 after the two parties extended their agreement in early July.