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National teams for Rund um Köln

Last year Rund um Köln was cancelled due to too much snow – this year the organiser is struggling to invite riders due to sponsor pressure

Last year Rund um Köln was cancelled due to too much snow – this year the organiser is struggling to invite riders due to sponsor pressure (Image credit: Frank Wiemann)

The traditional German Easter Monday race "Rund um Köln" will take place this year under extremely different circumstances: race organiser Artur Tabat has admitted that German television has forced him to invite only national teams and not trade teams to the race.

The race is scheduled to be broadcast by the WDR, whose sports director Steffen Simon said that "In this different atmosphere we'd like to give cycling another chance." However, Tabat said that the decision was made six weeks ago and that since then, he has struggled to find teams for the race.

"So far hardly anyone has answered us," he told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. "Maybe we will have to invite some smaller teams, too, if we don't have enough." The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer, the German cycling federation, has promised its help, as far as possible. "Our goal is to form a national team, but we will have to wait and see whether the pro teams cooperate."

"We still want as many pros at the start as possible," Tabat said, but noted he was relatively helpless. "We didn't have any other choice in the current situation. The WDR is too important, so that we couldn't decide otherwise."(SW)

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