Swiss bike manufacturer BMC has announced that it has terminated its contract with the Astana cycling team, effective immediately.
The company gave as its reason the positive test of Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov in the last Tour de France. It previously sponsored the Phonak team, which folded last year after a seemingly never-ending series of doping scandals.
“Whether BMC will engage again in the future as a sponsor of a professional cycling team is still an open question,” said BMC in a statement. “The other current BMC sponsoring activities in professional cycling, mountain biking and triathlon are not concerned by the present decision.”
The news comes as no great surprise, as BMC had already announced last week that it was considering its future with Astana. On the other hand, it has clearly recognised the value of sponsorship. “BMC’s experience from recent events shows that doping is not directly connected with cycle products,” read an earlier statement from the company. “The product range speaks for itself. BMC has experienced rapid development since 2001, with double figure growth since 2004.”