Heppner giving up hope

Jens Heppner has been involved in cycling since 1974, and has been team manager of the Professional...

Jens Heppner has been involved in cycling since 1974, and has been team manager of the Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt since 2006. But now he says, "I have already started thinking about doing something other than cycling in the future."

Wiesenhof announced in May that it would stop sponsoring the team at the end of the season, because of "the current situation in professional cycling". Ironically, the announcement was made almost simultaneously with the press conference at which Heppner's former team-mates Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag admitted to having used doping products while riding for Team Telekom. Heppner, who rode for Telekom from 1992 to 2002, has consistently denied ever having doped.

"The pros who dope and the press, which hashes out the affairs over weeks without looking at other sports, are responsible" for the disappearance of sponsors, Heppner told dpa. "In two or three years, there will only be one top team in Germany, T-Mobile, with maybe only ten German riders. Then the infrastructure for junior riders disappears."

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