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Rumpf calls for more ProTour racing in Germany

ProTour director Alain Rumpf

ProTour director Alain Rumpf (Image credit: AFP)

Alain Rumpf, the International Cycling Union's (UCI) ProTour manager, hopes to see more German races in the top level of the sport. German cycling has suffered numerous race cancellations in recent years, and currently, the one-day race Vattenfall Cyclassics is the only German race in the ProTour. In an interview this weekend, Rumpf said his organisation "would be happy to increase Germany's participation in the international racing calendar."

Interviewed on muax.de, Rumpf noted that Germany is a "very important country for cycling, from a sporting and financial point of view, for the team sponsors and for television."

Germany once boasted a number of high-level races, but doping scandals which hit prominent German riders like Jan Ullrich, Matthias Kessler, Jörg Jaksche and Patrick Sinkewitz as well as doctors of the T-Mobile and German national team have crushed the sport in that country in recent years. Races which had become a tradition, like the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt and the 3-Länder Tour were the first victims. Then the crisis hit the country's only other ProTour race, the Deutschland Tour, which was cancelled for 2009 after the recent doping cases at Team Gerolsteiner.

The sport of cycling as a whole suffered not just from doping, but from a political war between the UCI and the Grand Tour organisers. An agreement between the UCI and the organisers concerning the racing calendar was announced this week. Rumpf said that the details came together quickly. Thanks to help from the International Olympic Committee, the first contacts came about during last year's Tour de France, and shortly thereafter meetings began. "Both parties quickly agreed to the principles of working together, and in September 2008, an agreement was signed."

This is "a very important agreement, which ends a conflict which has lasted more than four years and which has done a lot of damage to our sport," Rumpf said. Now everyone is prepared to work together "to develop our sport in a time of a troubled financial situation and in which the competition from other sports is getting stronger."

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