"The 2008 Olympic Games will take place without me – whether I qualify for them or not," Peter Wrolich has decided. The Gerolsteiner rider criticised the qualification guidelines issued by the Austrian cycling federation (Österreichische Radsport-Verband, ÖRV).
"Last week I was allowed to see the qualification races that the ÖRV and the ÖOC (Austrian Olympic Committee) have negotiated," he wrote on his personal website. The following races are listed:
7-12.4. Vuelta Ciclistica al País Vasco
29.4-4.5. Tour de Romandie - Stages 1 and 4
19-25.5. Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
8-16.5. Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
10.5-1.6. Giro d'Italia - Stages 7, 14, 15, 19 and 20
14-22.6. Tour de Suisse
5-21.7. Tour de France - Stages 6, 7, 9, 10, and 15
"It looks like I will take part in at most one or two of these races. With only one exception, they are all stage races, and only mountain stages count. In my opinion, this defies any logic – as far as I know, the Olympic road races is also this year a one-day race. I'm sure the ÖRV has its reasons. I don't share their opinion, and would have done it like all the other big cycling nations do: put together a team which works together harmoniously."
"The course in Beijing is difficult, no question. But I don't understand why they are only using mountain stages from stage races as qualification. Since I will have only one or two chances to qualify, I see this as a sign that the ÖRV doesn't want riders with my kind of abilities there," the sprinter said.
"I played this same game in 2004," the 33 year-old added. "I did everything they said and still got left at home." His fellow countryman, Bernhard Eisel of Team High Road, announced earlier this week that he would not participate in the Olympics, either.