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Milram: Cold Feet

A newspaper in Frankfurt, via VeloNews, is reporting that Team Milram's title sponsor is looking for an exit strategy from the two years remaining on their contract with the cycling team, citing the usual German fear of doping. I don't like to paint with too broad a brushstroke, but it does seem that every institution of consequence with roots in Germany is lashing out at the sport these days, so I suppose the Milram dairy company's latest move is no surprise. Making matters worse is Stefan Schumacher's ongoing crusade against his own doping disgrace. Schmacher continues to insist on his innocence, now threatening to send his lawyers on the offensive. Since I can't look inside his soul, I guess we don't know for sure if he's guilty, but so far he's about 99% unconvincing.

The danger in all of this is twofold: first, German cycling, which is nothing to sneeze at, is on increasingly shaky terms. Second, the void will be filled if and when Milram departs... but by whom? I personally worry that interest in Europe seems to be growing more in the eastern bloc countries, and not to besmirch the character of half a continent, but the history of sports doping in the old Soviet sattelites (and USSR too) is ugly. Worse, the attitude of the Kazakh federation in the Vinokourov case makes me worry that new-to-cycling countries don't fully appreciate the situation. In any event, Milram runs a reputable program, so the only way from here is down.