Pity poor George Hincapie. His teams can't seem to keep their sponsors.
First, the Discovery Channel announced that it would not renew its sponsorship for the Tailwind Sports team of which he had been a member since the last '90s. Then Tailwind finally gave up looking for a sponsor and disbanded.
Hincapie jumped over to the team that Deutsche Telekom and affiliate T-Mobile had sponsored since 1991. T-Mobile announced today that it was pulling the plug.
Team High Road
VeloNews reports the team will continue under private support as Team High Road, which holds a ProTour license. American Bob Stapleton, the team manager, said the team will ask the UCI to make the appropriate changes. The women's team also is affected by the sponsorship change.
Other than having team sponsors quit, Hincapie, of Greenville, South Carolina, had a good finish to 2007. He won the inaugural Tour of Missouri in September, Discovery's last domestic race.
T-Mobile made no secret about why it made it's decision. In a press release on the T-Mobile website:
“We arrived at this decision to separate our brand from further exposure from doping in sport and cycling specifically.
“We have worked very hard with the current team management to promote a clean cycling sport but we reached the decision to continue our efforts to rid all sports of doping by applying our resources in other directions. Deutsche Telekom AG wants to make it clear that this action is not based on any disagreement with or misconduct by team management.”
A lot of connections between doping and T-Mobile have come out in the past year or so. The team fired Jan Ullrich for not being forthcoming about his connections with a Spanish doctor accused of helping cyclists dope.
Then came the disclosures that Bjarne Riis doped with EPO to win the 1996 Tour de France. Erik Zabel were among the others who admitted to a history of doping under T-Mobile.
German rider Patrik Sinkewitz admitting using drugs just this year.