Milram secured 100th anniversary Rund um Köln

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23.03.2008/ This years 93th edition of Rund um Köln (Cologne Classic) was expected to be cancelled after head sponsor DEVK did not renew its contract with race organiser Verein Cölner Straßenfahrer 08 e.V. (VCS). But Arthur Tabat, who leads the organisation of the race for 36 years now, did not give up and managed to organise the 93th Rund um Köln, 100 years after the first edition of the race in 1908.

© Rund um Köln
Arthur Tabat (© Rund um Köln)

Several German races dissapeared from the calendar this year and althought the traditional one day races Rund um Köln and Henninger Turm will take place this year, its far from certain that they will still exist in 2009.
The online edition of German TV- and Radio station WDR, spoke with Arthur Tabat about the difficulties he had to organise the 100th year anniversary of Rund um Köln.
Asked if Rund um Köln's funding was cut, Tabat said:"One could say so. Our head sponsor left and other important backers stopped or reduced their involvement. This year we have only half the budget as we had in the past years." Actually the race was secured by two new sponsors, Wheel Tire manufacturer Schwalbe and Milram sponsor, Nordmilch AG stepped in.
Tabat was also asked if he was angry at professional riders who doped. Tabat said: "I was shocked about the scale of doping in cycling - I didn't suspect it to be like this. I organise this race since 1972 and we always had to deal with bigger and smaller financial problems. But the doping stories almost put us over the edge. In the truest sense of the word myself included. Last summer I suffered from a stroke. I had to stay for a long time in a rehabilitation clinic."
Races like the Dreiländer - Tour and Rheinlandpfalz - Rundfahrt were cancelled this year but Tabat was not even considering to cancel the oldest German race. "No especially this year that didn't even came in my mind. We will celebrate our 100th anniversary. I absolutely wanted to do that. You could say with that my lifework is completed."
Tabat failed 60.00 euros to let the race finish in the center of Cologne. 'Mister Rund um Köln' tried to negotiate with local authorities but did not succeed. The race will now finish in a suburb of Cologne, Cologne-Kalk. The riders will receive not as many money as in the past years as well.
Tabat is not a hard business man, but he knows himself very well and was smart enough to let Alexander Donike do the negotiations with the teams. "I know that there are riders who do not get paid very well. I would not be able to offer them less. Donike reported to me that with the exception of Belgian Team Quickstep all were reasonable. We will have a top field." 
Its reported that Quickstep also won't participate in next months Tour de Georgia for the same reason.
Tabat is not optimistic about the future of the race. Asked if his race has a future, Tabat said: "Difficult to say. We received postcards of former volunteers who wrote that they do not want to have anything to do with this f*ck doping."

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Special Coverage 100 years Rund um Köln (Cologne Classic)

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