August 15/06 8:50 am - Phonak Leaves Cycling
Posted by Editor on 08/15/06
Phonak Team To End
The Phonak Cycling Team confirmed rumours that it will not renew its licence at the end of the season. Phonak was scheduled to hand over title sponsorship to iShares (a division of Barclays Bank), but the company pulled out, citing the bad publicity surrounding the sport and specifically Phonak's Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who is appealing the results of the abnormal testosterone/epitestosterone test taken after his win in stage 17 of the Tour.
The team has fought problems with doping - 11 cases in the last five years - but appeared to be recovering with Landis, who won the Tour of California, Tour de Georgia and Paris-Nice prior to his come-from-behind victory in the Tour de France.
In a press conference held earlier today in Europe, team owner Andy Rihs of Phonak Hearing Systems said "As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping, I truly regret this development and it has brought me to the decision of disbanding the Phonak Cycling Team per the end of 2006."
The disbanding of the team means that riders now have scramble to find new teams for next season. Among the riders who will be looking is Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, who has had a strong sophomore season on the ProTour circuit.