By Susan Westemeyer
Adidas will continue as a sponsor of T-Mobile Team for the time being, the team announced Friday. "Adidas will fulfill its contractual obligations through 2008," team spokesman Stefan Wagner told the dpa agency. The sporting article company had said earlier in the week that it was considering an immediate end to its sponsorship. "We are already holding discussions with other interested suppliers," Wagner noted, adding that the team had known for a while that Adidas would stop after 2008.
Main sponsor Deutsche Telekom will make the decision on its sponsorship independent of others. "As a long-time sponsor and as name sponsor of the team, Deutsche Telekom has of course a special position. We will make our own decision and won't let ourselves be pressured for time," said Christian Frommert, director of Sponsoring Communications. Telekom has a contract with the team through 2010.
One of the team's talented youngsters, Gerald Ciolek, is optimistic about the team's future. "Right now I assume that the team will continue next year," he told the sid agency. "Of course, in pro cycling we have to live with the fact that sponsors might leave, but our team has taken serious steps this year in the fight against doping. I think that that deserves recognition."
If T-Mobile were to stop sponsoring, "that would hurt not only our team, but all of pro cycling in Germany," he noted.
The 21 year-old thinks that the sport is getting cleaner. "Maybe I am being naive, but I really think that a lot of things have changed. I have only been with T-Mobile since this year, but the systematic doping, such as it apparently existed in the past, is not possible any more, I think. Probably the sport will never be entirely clean, but we are on the right way with the anti-doping programme, such as T-Mobile has."