By Susan Westemeyer
The question that all of cycling is asking itself now is who will be the new sponsor for Bob Stapleton's team, the former T-Mobile Team, now known as Team High Road? While German sources claim to know, an Irish bookie is taking bets.
The dpa press agency is putting its money on "an American logistics company," which will be presented as early as the team presentation in January.
But Paddy Powers, an Irish bookie, is looking further afield. The favoured company by him, with odds of seven to one, is Gazprom, the Russian natural gas company. It is followed by Kik, a German discount textile chain which sponsors a number of soccer teams (11 to one).
Germany is also known for its pharmaceutical firms. Would the team be willing to accept one as sponsor and buck the doping charges? Powers doesn't give them that much of a chance, but is willing to give Bayer odds of 41 to 1, and Roche is 31 to 1.
"The absolute favourite with odds of 1.33 to 1, however, is the option that no sponsor will be found," Powers' press release says. "Because it is hard to believe that any company would voluntarily venture into the doping swamp."