August 15, 2006
Phonak management quits the sport
Phonak owner Andy Rihs announced today that the Phonak team, dogged by doping case after doping case, will close down at the end of the season.
Rihs, who had brought in John Lelangue and instituted internal testing above and beyond the UCI's standards, said he couldn't find any sponsor willing to support the team, even at a single Swiss franc, or about 80 cents.
Phonak had already announced that it would end its sponsorship at the end of the season, but Rihs had lined up the iShares group of Barclays Bank to take over. Now, with Phonak's Tour winner Floyd Landis facing revocation of his title, iShares has withdrawn from the agreement.
“As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping.”
Rihs has notified the team's riders that they will not have contracts next year, and riders are scrambling to find new teams. Axel Merckx, who had just extended for one final year with Phonak, told ProCycling, “I want to stick with that decision. If there is a chance I can extend my career I would still like to do one more year.”
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Floyd has posted an open letter to Phonak on his website.
Posted by: Julie at Aug 15, 2006 1:48:01 PM