Shimano has issued a public anti-doping statement to its sponsored teams, reinforcing its stance on a hot topic which continues to rear its ugly head throughout the pro peloton.
"This has in fact always been our position, but we felt it was time to make it clear to everybody in the cycling world that also we as a sponsor can and will not tolerate doping," Shimano Europe's marketing officer Harald Troost told BikeRadar. "Of course we know that our statement in itself does not solve this issue, but you could see it as another brick in the wall that we are building together with the teams and the (International Cycling Union) against structural doping usage.
"We will probably never rid doping from the cycling sport totally -- in reality there will always be incidents of individuals trying to cheat -- but if we at least start by stopping the doping networks together we already would have made a giant leap," he added.
Shimano-sponsored road teams include Euskaltel-Euskadi, Francaise des Jeux, Rabobank, Team Columbia-HTC, Garmin-Slipstream, Xacobeo Galicia, Landbouwkrediet, and Skil-Shimano. Troost mentioned the same statement was sent to its mountain bike, cyclo-cross and BMX teams, and distributors were asked to send it to their locally sponsored teams.
Euskaltel-Euskadi rider Mikel Astarloza, winner of stage 16 of the 2009 Tour de France, had his second sample test positive for the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO).
Basic guidelines in Shimano's anti-doping policy:
• All our contracts and sponsorship-relations are made under the condition and in the belief that there is no doping involved in the particular team or with the individual athletes;
• If the team management of one of our sponsored teams (no matter in which cycling discipline) is involved in any doping affair, we will stop our sponsorship of this team immediately;
• If an individual rider is involved in any doping affair without the knowledge of the team management, the team will be given the chance to give a clear explanation and a future improvement and control plan to Shimano, upon that it will be decided to continue;
the sponsoring or not. If another doping incident occurs within the same team, we will keep the option of terminating our sponsorship contract;
• Terminating a sponsorship contract means return of all Shimano materials or other contributions that have been supplied to the concerned team immediately.
For more information, visit www.shimano.com.