T-Mobile future decision imminent

T-Mobile will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon in Saarbrucken, Germany, at which the telecommunications giant is expected to announce whether it will continue sponsorship of the Bob Stapleton-led ProTour team. "We hope that it will continue," T-Mobile sport director Rolf Aldag told sid. "We would like to keep on, but it is the firm's decision."

Deutsche Telekom has sponsored the team since 1991, first under the name Team Telekom, and as T-Mobile Team since 2004. After suspending its star Jan Ullrich just one day before the 2006 Tour de France, and subsequently firing him due to his involvement with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the team changed general managers for the 2007 season. The whole new management brought a new philosophy and a new anti-doping program to the team. However bad press following the spate of high-profile confessions of doping on the team, including Erik Zabel and Aldag, in the 1990s, has been compounded by Patrik Sinkewitz' non-negative test for testosterone, which was announced during the Tour de France.

The firm announced last fall that it would extend its sponsorship through the 2010 season. However, many observers consider it possible that the sponsor will announce that it is ending its contract as of the end of 2007.

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