Team Milram raised a number of eyebrows Friday morning when it took to the start of the seventh stage of the Deutschland Tour. The riders weren't in their usual kit but were wearing jerseys with a blue and white speckled-cow pattern. Among those who were "not amused" was the race jury, as teams are required to wear their normal team kit.
There were enough questions raised that team captain Christian Knees quickly changed back into his regular jersey before the start, although he still wore the speckled shorts. The other five remaining Milram riders took to the start in their white-with-blue speckles. The kit was planned to honour the team's sponsor Nordmilch, a dairy-product company, which is based in Bremen, Germany.
"We wanted to surprise Nordmilch and thank them and the dairy farmers for their belief in cycling," said team manager Gerry van Gerwen. "On our way through Milram land, we want to show for whom we ride with pride and demonstrate our connection to the northern Germany home of Milram."
The surprise almost backfired on the team. Race jury director Martijn Swinkels told van Gerwen that "according to the rules we are out of the race" and shouldn't be allowed to start. "I didn't know that [was the rule]," van Gerwen told the dpa. "[Even though] we knew there would be a penalty."
Swinkels finally allowed Milram to ride, and the jury was to meet Friday evening to decide on a penalty. "The team will surely not be thrown out of the race," said race director Roland Hofer. "I can guarantee that."
Despite the near exclusion, Milram was left in a good "moo"d and ready to milk the situation for all it was worth.
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