By Susan Westemeyer
Team Gerolsteiner has joined the ranks of those looking for a new sponsor. Gerolsteiner Brunnen Gmbh & Co. announced Tuesday morning that it would end its sponsorship of the ProTour team at the end of the 2008 season, when its contract with team owner Hans-Michael Holczer ends.
"As agreed, we will fulfil our contract with Team Gerolsteiner through the end of the 2008 season. But we will not take advantage of our option to extend the contract," Jörg Croseck, the company's director of Marketing, Distribution and Personnel said in a press release. "The decision wasn't easy and we carefully examined whether we could continue to use cycling in the future to reach and interest our customers." The company ultimately decided that cycling was no longer the proper way to reach those customers.
The recent doping scandals in cycling are "not the main reason for Gerolsteiner's decision," according to the press release. "However, they played a part in reducing the value of cycling as a communications platform.
"We are firmly convinced that Hans-Michael Holczer will be successful in finding a new partner," Croseck said. "His strict and credible anti-doping course, when paired with the image of the team, is an outstanding bargaining position."
The beverage company has sponsored the team since 1998, for about nine million euro a year.