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Saunier Duval ends, Scott continues sponsorship

Saunier-Duval riders at the Tour de France before the team withdrew

Saunier-Duval riders at the Tour de France before the team withdrew (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The riders of the Saunier Duval - Scott team had a day of ups and downs. After Saunier Duval announced that it was withdrawing its sponsorship effective immediately, co-sponsor Scott stepped forward and committed to sponsoring the squad for the rest of the 2008 season.

The news follows the stage four positive doping test from Riccardo Riccò and the confession of doping by team-mate Leonardo Piepoli as well as the subsequent withdrawal of the entire team from the Tour de France before stage 12. Both riders had won stages in this year's French Grand Tour. Two days ago, the remaining riders on the team issued a letter to sponsors condemning the actions of their former team-mates and requesting continued support.

Saunier Duval pulled out in response to the doping incidents involving the team and the company said it had never put any pressure on its riders to achieve results according to the AFP.

Scott, the bicycle sponsor of the team, said it thought that the team and its managers "did everything they could" to avoid the consequences of what were individual choices by members of the team.

"To leave the team and seek for other sponsorship opportunities would be the easiest thing for us to do," read a statement signed by Pascal Ducrot, Vice-President of Scott Sports. "However, we trust the team's young riders and staff. They do not have to pay for the mistakes made by individual riders, and this is why we've decided to stand by the team. We'll continue to support Mauro Gianetti's men so that they can go on competing this season.

"We consider this tough situation as a chance to struggle against doping and we'll ask for anti-doping tests to be stricter in the future. All the riders in the team have signed the so-called biological passport, and we believe this is great a step forward to eliminate doping from cycling. We'll not leave the team, as all the people in it have done an excellent job in the past years. We want the young riders of the team to be given a chance"

According to AFP, Scott's contract with the team had been put in place through 2010, and for the rest of this season, the new squad will be called Scott unless other title sponsors come onboard.

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.