Imola (dpa) – First a doping attack in the Tour de France, now the big stimulus figure at the World Cup on the road?
Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana went on the attack after the public prosecutor’s office in Marseille started an investigation and fiercely defended himself against all allegations of doping. “I have nothing and never had anything to hide. I have been a decent professional cyclist all my sporting life,” Quintana wrote in a message he published on social media between the tour final and the start of the World Cup in Imola on Thursday.
The four-day title fights on the Formula 1 circuit now threaten to be overshadowed by the crazy cycling program and especially the new research. “The authorities entered my room and confiscated completely legal vitamin supplements, although they may not be known to the French authorities,” Quintana wrote. In his defense, French team professional Arkéa-Samsic added: “For the record, I would like to confirm that no doping substances were ever found.”
On the day of the tour’s queen stage last Wednesday, the Quintana team was the target. According to the media, evidence of doping was also found in the team hotel near Méribel. A doctor and a supervisor were taken into custody on Monday and only released on Wednesday evening, AFP news agency reports. Should more results from the detectives follow in the coming days, they should also overshadow the sporting events of the greatly shortened title fights in Imola.
With the start and finish in the famous “Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari”, the World Cup does not have a special position as usual. With the start right after the end of the tour and the prestigious road race six days before the start of the Giro d’Italia, some professionals Ineos stars Egan Bernal (Colombia) and Chris Froome, the Yates brothers Simon and Adam (all three Groot Britain) and the German hopeful Emanuel Buchmann decided not to start in Emilia Romagna.
Nils Politt, Tony Martin and Tour stage winner Lennard Kämna are also not part of the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR). “We have a number of drivers who have canceled the teams because the classics will take place afterwards. We have received a number of cancellations, set up the road team ourselves,” said sports director Jens Zemke of the German news agency. There is no time for junior races and the newly introduced mixed relay race after the corona-related location change from Aigle / Martigny (Switzerland) to Italy has been canceled.
Classic specialist Maximilian Schachmann will enter the demanding 258 kilometer race as the German captain on Sunday. His program was as follows after the tour’s arrival on the Parisian Champs-Élysées: Monday return journey, Tuesday free, Wednesday arrival in Imola. “It’s still about the rainbow jersey. The World Cup has lost none of its value,” Schachmann explained.
Instead of weeks of building forms and scouting, the pro of the German Bora-hansgrohe team can use this time alone to get to know the 28.8 kilometer circuit. Team boss Zemke is grateful that the World Cup can go up at all. “We are happy with every cycling race that actually takes place. The drivers have to approach every race as if it were the last,” he said.