Team Barloworld has announced that it will end the sponsorship of its cycling team after the Tour de France following the failed doping test of Spaniard Moisés Dueñas. A sample given by Dueñas after the stage four time trial around Cholet was found to contain the banned blood booster EPO. The team's hotel was subsequently searched and Dueñas was said to be in position of "a small pharmacy" of banned substances.
In a statement issued Saturday, Chris Fisher, head of corporate marketing at Barloworld, said: "We consistently drive the values of our business through the team. Team Barloworld has a zero tolerance policy towards doping which has been constantly communicated to the riders - we have to act on this policy and as such we will all have to live with the long term consequences of one individual's action.
"This incident has a negative impact on Barloworld and our brand principals, which our board has a duty to protect.
"To say that we are disappointed would be an understatement. Cycling has been overshadowed for some time with doping issues which have negatively affected the reputation of the sport. Whilst we have continued to operate within this environment we have always made our position clear on drug use and have acted accordingly."
The team's future beyond the Tour de France remains uncertain, although Barloworld said it would honour all contractual obligations and is in discussions with replacement sponsors. As with all UCI-registered teams, the UCI holds a bank guarantee which may be used to enable the team to continue, but nothing has been decided thus far.
"This is all new so we will have to look at the situation," Alain Rumpf of the UCI told Cyclingnews. "But we will see with the team management what can be done to help the team go on. I can't tell you that yes, we can use the bank guarantee. But we are prepared to see what we can do."
Cyclingnews will have more on this story as it unfolds.