T-Mobile sponsors on the fence, Adidas to say 'adios'?

By Susan Westemeyer The T-Mobile team's recent bad publicity from the case of Patrik Sinkewitz...

By Susan Westemeyer

The T-Mobile team's recent bad publicity from the case of Patrik Sinkewitz appears to be trickling up to its sponsors. The news inspired Adidas to changed its mind about supporting the team, and it announced Thursday that it will not extend its sponsoring contract with T-Mobile Team, which expires in 2008. The company is also considering immediately ending its contract with the team. Oliver Brüggen, a spokesman for the sporting goods manufacturer, cited the Patrik Sinkewitz confession as the grounds for the company's action.

Brüggen told the dpa that the Sinkewitz disclosures were "the final step in a long chronology of slow revelations about the past, and lead us to this decision." After Sinkewitz' positive control for testosterone this summer, the company said that it would reconsider its sponsorship, but then, after hard work to salvage the team's reputation by manager Bob Stapleton, the company said in August that it would stay.

Two other sponsors, Audi and Giant, have said that they would wait until sponsor Deutsche Telekom makes its final decision regarding to team sponsorship. "We always keep an eye on cycling," said Audi spokeswoman Iris Altig. "We will wait until Telekom acts." The auto company has a contract with the team through 2008, and the bike manufacturer Giant through 2010.

There was no decision from the communications company announced today in Bonn, where Telekom is meeting. "I have no news," Director Rene Obermann said, according to the sid. "It is not a new doping case", Obermann said, according to AFP. "It deals with the disappointing disclosures about the past."

Stephan Althoff, head of the company's sponsoring division, took a more optimistic approach, saying, "We continue to claim that we want to do our part in helping cycling to get clean." He also denied rumours that Sport Director Rolf Aldag, who in May confessed to having used EPO , would have to go. "He is an important of the team and will continue to be our speaking partner in sports questions," said Althoff.

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