Wheels come off in cycling

BERLIN -Professional cycling in Germany may be coming to an end after the withdrawal of T-Mobile and Adidas as team sponsors, Germany's leading sports parliamentarian Peter Danckert said yesterday.

BERLIN -Professional cycling in Germany may be coming to an end after the withdrawal of T-Mobile and Adidas as team sponsors, Germany's leading sports parliamentarian Peter Danckert said yesterday.

"If main sponsors like Adidas and Telekom quit - and some others have also quit - then more sponsors will be considering this as well. Then of course professional cycling in Germany comes to an end," Danckert told RBB radio.

"The cycling pros, and some officials, have still not recognised the sign of the times. In this respect it was a logical and expected decision."

Germany's other main cycling team sponsor, soft drink makers Gerolsteiner, will quit the sport after the 2008 season.

In addition, the future of the nation's biggest race, the Germany Tour, is uncertain over alleged lacking broadcast interest. State broadcasters ARD and ZDF allegedly only plan to air the Tour de France in the future.

T-Mobile ended its engagement as team sponsor on Tuesday with immediate effect, and Adidas also terminated its deal as sponsor of the team run by American Bob Stapleton.

The other team sponsors, Europe's leading bicycle manufacturers Giant and German carmakers Audi, said yesterday they were looking into whether they will continue sponsoring the team.

Telekom director and T-Mobile chairman Hamid Akhavan ended a 16-year era on Tuesday, saying: "We have decided to take this step to distance ourselves and the brand T-Mobile from the latest doping confessions in sport and more particularly cycling." - Sapa-DPA

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