Days after it was revealed that German Patrik Sinkewitz had tested positive for testosterone, T-Mobile team sponsor Adidas has indicated that it may move to end its sponsorship of the squad. T-Mobile, despite having a strong antidoping programme in place, suffered under the weight of confessions of former team riders Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag before Sinkewitz became the latest rider to test positive for a banned substance. The negative press is weighing on the long-time team sponsor.
"We are currently seriously toying with the idea of ending our sponsoring activities," said spokesperson Jan Runau to Die Welt. The sponsorship, which is less than one million euro acording to Adidas, may have been renewed but this latest scandal may prove to be too much. "There are stll talks ahead of us, but right now it looks like we will stop," an Adidas representative was quoted.
The possible departure of the sportswear giant from the cycling market follows the German television boycott of the Tour following Sinkewitz' positive test. While SAT1 (cable TV) took over from ARD and ZDF, the pressure on these companies to steer clear of the sport is apparent. "The signs are pointing to exit," said an unidentified Adidas representative.
Adidas has sponsored the team since 1997 and wanted to continue its support with the purported 'new beginning' in pro cycling. "We have been in in direct contact with our longtime partner Telekom [T-Mobile, ed.] even before the suspected doping case of Sinkewitz, to evaluate if it is even realistic to get a fresh start, after what happened recently," said Runau.