Team manager Hans-Michael Holczer is slowly losing hope of finding a new sponsor to replace Gerolsteiner at the end of this season. "There's not much happening right now. I'm not exactly optimistic," he told the sid press agency. He has set a deadline of the end of August. "By then we have to know what is up. Otherwise we can just close up shop."
Holczer is currently in Beijing as directeur sportif for the German road cycling team. He was disappointed that no sponsor has appeared after the team's successful Tour de France, where Stefan Schumacher won both time trials and wore the yellow jersey for two days. "There was one inquiry that sounded quite good. But then a lot of problems came up. That really hurt," he said.
Meanwhile, Holczer has told his riders that they are free to look around for a new team, with rival German team Milram said to be the most interested. "But so far nobody has signed somewhere else," Holczer told the dpa agency. The contracts with most of the riders only ran through this year, with a few exceptions, such as Stefan Schumacher, going through 2009.