Following my posting on the 19th about Barloworld pulling their sponsorship from professional cycling, news has just come in that Saunier Duvall is also withdrawing its sponsorship in the sport.
Saunier Duvall, part of a German company specialising in domestic heaters and air conditioning units, has pulled out of cycling blaming the drug scandal that engulfed its team at the Tour de France. It acted after its Italian rider Riccardo Ricco failed a dope test on stage four, prompting the team to pull out of the race last week.
Both Ricco and his compatriot Leonardo Piepoli, who had won the prestigious Bastille Day stage but had not failed a dope test, were sacked last Friday.
A statement issued by Saunier Duval today confirmed: “This decision by the company was taken following the recent case of doping involving one of the team’s cyclists, Riccardo Ricco, and the suspicions against another cyclist.”
The news also represents a major blow for Spanish cycling, which will be left with just two Pro teams – Caisse d’Epargne and Euskaltel-Euskadi.
My only hope that this is the last team/sponsor to leave the sport because of the drug scandals. Another sad day indeed!