PHONAK TEAM TO BE DISBANDED
Phonak team owner Andy Rihs has decided to disband the team at the end of the season and abandon professional cycling.
Speaking in a press conference in Zurich on Tuesday morning, Rihs said Floyd Landis’s positive doping test for testosterone at the Tour de France was the final blow to hopes of saving the team with new sponsor iShares.
“As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping. I truly regret this development and it has brought me to the decision of disbanding the Phonak Cycling Team per the end of 2006,” Rihs said.
“Today I see myself forced to do something I have never done in my whole life as a businessman: I have given up!”
“I am particularly sorry for our young promising Swiss riders who share no guilt in this development, as well as for the competent staff members.”
Rihs revealed he tried to find a new sponsor to keep the team in the ProTour and give Swiss cycling a major presence in the peloton but with his ProTour place in doubt after all the doping problems within the team, he was forced to resolve the contract with iShares and threw in the towel.
The team will continue to participate in all the races scheduled for the remainder of 2006 so that the riders will have the opportunity to find teams for 2007.