Kloeden won't race for Germany
German cyclist and Team Astana rider Andreas Kloeden announced on Sunday he will not race for his country again because of his non-selection for the Beijing Olympic Games.
Kloeden, who finished second in 2004 and 2006’s Tour de France and won Olympic Bronze in Sydney (2000), has said on his website: “I have already announced my decision to the German Cycling Federation (BDR) that I will not be available to represent them again.”
“Until today, the reasons of my non-selection were not given to me. Unfortunately, I read in the press the federation’s chief technical officer thought that I was not cut out for the single day races.”
“This explanation is – if you’ll excuse the expression – crap. More so because I didn’t compete in the Tour de France this year especially so I could prepare for the Olympic Games.”
The decision not to take Kloeden to Beijing caps off a disastrous year for the once-Tour de France favourite and former training partner of Jan Ullrich. Team Astana were banned from this year’s Tour amid a cloud of doping controversy, denying him the chance to race the event. The 33-year-old was also omitted from the 17 cyclists named by the BDR to take part in next month’s road World Cycling Championships on September 28 in Varese, Italy.
Astana, however, is bouncing back and has just announced team director Dirk Demol will become part of the team in 2009.
The Belgian is a former winner of the famed Paris-Roubaix (1988) and most recently worked as a team director with QuickStep-Innergetic, where he led Stijn Devolder to victory at the Tour of Flanders. Demol will join Team Astana for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
The move will allow the Discovery Channel directing veteran to work once again with Johan Brunyneel, a marriage of talents that’s enjoyed success with many Grand Tour winners such as Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Paolo Savoldelli and Roberto Heras.
“It was not an easy decision to leave Patrick Lefevere’s Team, but I’m excited to be reunited with Johan Bruyneel,” said Demol. “What Johan has been able to do this year with Team Astana is quite special and I look forward to being a part of his program once again. It will be a new team with some familiar faces, but I know the winning philosophy and structure have remained the same.”