Phonak decide to press on

Phonak's riders and staff have committed themselves to the team at a meeting held by the controversy

Phonak's riders and staff have committed themselves to the team at a meeting held by the controversy
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Phonak's riders and backroom staff met with company president Andy Rihs at the team's Swiss headquarters yesterday and all agreed to press on with their objectives for next season following the team's recent doping troubles and rejection from the ProTour. Tyler Hamilton and Santi Perez, who have both tested positive for blood doping and were released from their contracts two weeks ago, did not attend, although both could still be re-admitted to the team if they are shown to be innocent of charges laid against them. "The intention is to do as many races as we can," directeur sportif Alvaro Pino told Marca. The team's hope is that its run of form from this season will continue into next and assure them of wild card offers to the biggest events on the calendar, including the major tours. Pino has already contacted the Vuelta to assess their attitude to Phonak. "I haven't received a reply from them yet but I'm hoping that when the race is presented on December 15 they will tell me something." Pino said that all of Phonak's existing riders and their new signings have given a commitment to stay with the team, and he indicated that big names such as Floyd Landis, Santiago Botero and Robert Hunter were among them. Following the meeting, the squad will remain together until next Tuesday at a first pre-season training camp. "The boss told us that we have to keep working as we always have done, perhaps with even more determination if we can, and we are keen to do that," Pino said of Phonak boss Rihs' attitude to the season ahead. "We are thinking about the future and about correcting the mistakes that we might have committed." According to Marca, it is unlikely that Phonak will make an appeal against their rejection from the ProTour at the Court for Arbitration in Sport.

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