UCI regrets T-Mobile withdrawal

McQuaid confident Stapleton can succeed

By Shane Stokes

UCI president Pat McQuaid has given his reaction to Tuesday's news that T-Mobile is withdrawing as primary sponsor of the German ProTour cycling team. Speaking to Cyclingnews on Wednesday afternoon, the Irishman said that he expected Team High Road manger Bob Stapleton to be able to come up with a new backer.

"What has happened is a pity for cycling, particularly so in Germany," he stated. "However, we must recognise the investment they put into our sport over the past 19 years. It had to stop sometime.

"There is a positive side though in that the team continues. The team management under Bob Stapleton have been determined to change attitudes in relation to anti-doping and have led the way for over a year. They are ethically of the highest order and this should help Bob indeed find a replacement for T-Mobile."

McQuaid said that despite big efforts made by the American to clean up the team, the fallout of confessions from past riders had made things very difficult. "T-Mobile has been to the forefront in the fight against doping and has helped cycling through a very bad period. However, it was just impossible to shake off the demons of the past, particularly in Germany."

Only two riders remain from the 2005 lineup and with the new anti-doping program in place, there is very little in common between the current roster and the previous composition of the squad. Indeed, the T-Mobile name itself was the strongest link to the past team; the end of this association means that, ironically, Tuesday's news will enable the squad to finally have a fresh start and move forward.

It is understood that once the financial guarantees are in place, Stapleton and High Road Sports will be able to transfer the ProTour licence to the renamed team.

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