Less than a week after the USADA released detailed evidence of doping practices inside the US Postal Services team during Lance Armstring’s reign of seven Tour de France titles, Dutch bank Rabobank announced they would be ending their sponsorship of professional cycling from December 31.
Rabobank’s managing board, said: “It is with pain in our heart, but for the bank this is an inevitable decision.
“We are no longer convinced that the international professional world of cycling can make this a clean and fair sport. We are not confident this will change for the better in the foreseeable future.
A statement on rabosport.com confirmed that the firm will continue with its sponsorship deals in amateur cycling but will sever ties with both their men’s and women’s professional teams.
Meanwhile, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid will reveal the world governing body’s response to the USADA’s scathing report on Armstrong on Monday.
In accordance with the World Anti-doping Code, the UCI had 21 days to respond, until October 31, but now McQuaid is set reveal whether they’ll uphold the findings.
Elsewhere, the An Post-Sean Kelly team have signed Olympic and World Championship track medallists Aaron Gate and Shane Archbold.
The New Zealand internationals are no strangers to the Irish cycling scene, having ridden the An Post Rás last year. Archbold won the points classification and Gate was second, while the latter also won the U23 classification.
Both riders have raced with the national New Zealand set-up in Europe in recent year and, more recently, Archbold has ridden some of last season (2012) season with the ‘Marco Polo Cycling Donckers Koffie’ team.
Both have serious pedigrees and their signing for the team is a boost to the Sean Kelly-led Continental squad, not least because it comes just over a week after the departure of Gediminas Bagdonas.
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