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Holczer departs cycling, Gerolsteiner skips Lombardia

By:
Les Clarke
Published:
October 14, 2008, 0:00 BST,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:54 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, October 14, 2008

Having experienced possibly the worst week of his career, Hans-Michael Holczer, manager and owner of...

Having experienced possibly the worst week of his career, Hans-Michael Holczer, manager and owner of the soon-to-be-defunct Team Gerolsteiner, is leaving the sport entirely. He has been buffeted by doping scandals emanating from the actions of his team's riders; on Monday night it was announced that Bernhard Kohl had tested positive for CERA, the latest generation variant of EPO.

The 26-year-old joined Stefan Schumacher, whose positive was announced last week, as another Gerolsteiner rider to have doped during this year's Tour in a team that has always publicly indicated that its riders have competed clean.

It was also announced that the team would now not ride the last race of the season, the Giro di Lombardia. "I am endlessly sorry," Holczer told Tyrol.com. "This just shows how powerless and helpless we are. It is time for me to leave. I surrender in light of this criminal energy."

Had Holczer been successful in finding a new sponsor for the team next season before these positives were announced, it's highly questionable whether the company involved would have maintained any agreement, such is the current economic environment and the market for sponsorship dollars.(SW)

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