The Deutschland Tour has given its two wildcard spots to two Continental Pro teams, the German Team Wiesenhof-Akud and the Austrian Team Volksbank. In awarding the two slots, the race management noted that the teams have a strong relationship to the stage race.
The race directors feels themselves obliged to invite Wiesenhof-Akud, "the only German team with Professional Continental status," but also note that the former Team Wiesenhof "has taken part in the Deutschland Tour every year since 2002, has always raced there competitively and as Team Wiesenhof-Akud in 2006, can boast former tour winner Jens Heppner as Sporting Director."
The second wild card was given to Team Volksbank, with an eye to the Deutschland Tour's run through the Austrian Tyrol. The team includes Gerrit Glomser, who has participated in the Tour of Germany three times, as well as multiple year participants Werner Riebenbauer and Harald Morscher. "This is a very big thing for the team and for Austrian cycling, to be invited to the Deutschland Tour in our first year as a Professional Continental team," said team manager Thomas Kofler. "We will represent Austria the best we can and ride actively. Gerrit Glomser has already announced that the stage finishing in St. Anton is exactly tailored to him.
Deutschland Tour director Kai Rapp said, "We are very happy that next to the three German/German-sponsored teams, T-Mobile, Gerolsteiner and Milram, we can give a platform to two further teams from the German-Austrian cycling community, to help them with their further development to the highest possible level."
The Deutschland Tour will start August 1, 2006, with 176 riders from 22 teams as each outfit may line up eight riders.
Courtesy of Susan Westemeyer
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