When Team Milram came into existence three years ago, it was a sprinter's team, boasting Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. Now, with Petacchi having been released because of his doping conviction and the nearly-38 year old Zabel facing a probable retirement, it is time for the team to reinvent itself. "Many contracts are up at the end of the season, but how it will all end up, nobody knows," Directeur Sportif Antonio Bevilacqua told the Financial Times Deutschland.
It is also unknown what will become of Petacchi. He had previously mentioned that if the charges were upheld, he would retire, but that statement has not been repeated. Milram spokesman Andrea Agostini said, "Maybe he will continue and there is a team with which he could ride the Vuelta after his suspension."
Petacchi's problem is that, while he is eligible to start riding again September 1, the Vuelta starts on August 30. That is easy enough to take care of, though. It is already rumoured that he will ask the Court of Arbitration for Sports to end his suspension a few days early, allowing him to take to the start in Granada. (SW)