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Teams involved in doping affairs could forfeit sponsorship
Bicycle component manufacturer Shimano issued a public statement outlining a firm anti-doping policy on Thursday, making it one of the first product manufacturers to explicitly demand that its sponsored athletes race clean.
The company, which also makes snowboarding and fishing equipment, singled out cycling in its "firm stand against doping in general and in the cycling sport in particular".
Shimano said that it would require teams to show their anti-doping policy in advance for all future sponsorship negotiations.
"All our contracts and sponsorship relations are made under the condition and in the belief that there is no doping involved in the particular team or with the individual athletes," the statement read.
Shimano's policy outlines the immediate cessation of sponsorship for any team whose management is found to be involved in a doping affair. The termination would require the team to return all Shimano materials "or other contributions that have been supplied to the concerned team immediately" in such an instance.
If a sponsored rider is involved in "any doping affair without the knowledge of the team management", Shimano will give the team a chance to explain and offer up a "future improvement and control plan". If a second doping incident occurs on the same team, Shimano said it would keep the option of terminating the sponsorship.
Shimano sponsors several professional cycling teams, one of which is Euskaltel-Euskadi, which had two riders test positive and be suspended for suspected doping: Inigo Landaluze tested positive for EPO CERA in June, and Mikel Astarloza tested positive for EPO in the same month.
The company also provides equipment for Francaise des Jeux, Rabobank, Columbia-HTC, Garmin-Slipstream, Xacobeo Galicia, Landboukrediet-Colnago and Skil-Shimano, as well as a number of mountain bike and BMX teams. It also has a partnership with the UCI to provide neutral support for championship events.