Yet another important professional team faces a desperate search for a new sponsor after CSC announced the end of their backing of Bjarne Riis? team on Wednesday.

The team has won numerous races during the eight-year sponsorship but has also been blighted by Ivan Basso?s involvement in Operacion Puerto and by Riis? own admission that he took EPO to win the 1996 Tour de France.

CSC announced the end of their sponsorship in a statement issued by the team.

?Team CSC?s current main sponsor, the Information Technology company CSC, is leaving professional cycling when its contract expires at the end of this year. CSC indicated the decision reflects a shift in priorities as the company makes new investments to implement a strategic long-term growth plan,? the statement said.

In recent months, Riis seemed confident that CSC would extend their sponsorship but he will now have to move quickly to find a new backer before his best riders jump ship and join other teams.

In a shrinking global economy, Riis will be competing against the High Road, Slipstream and Quick Step teams to find a major backer for his but tried to put a positive spin on the loss of CSC.

?We have had a long and excellent collaboration with CSC and when it comes to an end after this season we can look back upon eight years that have been very fruitful for both partners,? Riis said.

?This marks the beginning of something new for us and I know that we are ready to go out and show the world that we are here to stay. We have an exceptional product with worldwide exposure that we can offer to a new sponsor.?

?I?m optimistic about the future, even though cycling has its challenges. We have a team that is a ready to lead the way and an organisation that is up for the task at hand.?

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