Until very recently, German cycling looked as though it was on the brink of total collapse. However, according to an official press statement released this morning, the Milram team will continue into 2009.
The team looked as though it would be folding at the end of the 2008 season after sponsor Nordmilch (which owns Milram) said it would be reconsidering its sponsorship in light of all the scandals to affect German cycling in recent years.
The Tour of Germany was cancelled and German broadcasters ARD and ZDF announced that they would no longer be showing live coverage of the Tour de France made Milram’s sponsors re-consider its commitment to the team.
“In light of the constructive dialogue [with the team’s management] Nordmilch AG announces that the team will start as Team Milram from January 1 onwards. This is being done because of the trust in successful cycling performances by Team Milram and its new up-and-coming hopeful riders and an improvement of the current media situation,” said the statement.
The team has a sponsorship deal with the dairy company until the end of the 2010 season, although the sponsor says that it will continue to re-consider its decision throughout 2009.
After news that the Frankfurt GP has been saved for the foreseeable future, the fact that Germany’s sole remaining ProTour team may well help to salvage what is left of the sport in Germany.
On paper, the team has been greatly strengthened for the 2009 season and has taken on many of the riders from the now defunct Gerolsteiner team as well as Linus Gerdemann from Columbia.