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German government threatening Worlds funding

The start of the 2006 women's world road race

The start of the 2006 women's world road race (Image credit: Luc Claessen)

A German government minister has threatened to axe federal funding of the World Road Championships, slated for September 26-30 in Stuttgart, in response to recent doping scandals that have rocked the cycling world.

"We will not devote any money to a sport associated with doping," German Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble said to German paper Tagesspiegel. "If the 2007 world championship organisers want to be responsible, they will have to show this event is different from the rest. The world championships in Stuttgart are in a critical situation and it's not inconceivable that the organising committee will have to reconsider everything."

Schäuble suggested that the cancellation of an event like the World Championships might be just what the sport needs to signal a clean up and subsequent fresh start.

UCI President Pat McQuaid and German cycling federation leader Rudolph Scharping will meet with Schäuble Monday to discuss the Worlds and how drug testing will be applied to its competitors.

Schäuble said that he would feel better if the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) were the agency conducting the doping controls rather than any federation.

The race is expected to follow the Tour de France's lead, indicating it could prevent any riders under investigation for doping from competing at the world championships. "Whoever has taken drugs before shouldn't be allowed to compete in these world championships which want to be seen as a fresh start," said Stuttgart council member Susanne Eisenmann.

Last year's World Road Championships were held in Salzburg, Austria. Italian Paolo Bettini won the men's race while Dutchwoman Marianne Vos took the women's title.

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