August 15, 2006 — Phonak owner Andy Rihs announced at a news conference today that the team will be disbanded as a result of Tour de France winner Floyd Landis’s positive doping test for testosterone.
According to a Reuters report Rihs said he regretted the development and had always spoken out against doping. “As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed the sport of cycling apparently has become a synonym for doping. I truly regret this development and it has brought me to the decision of disbanding the Phonak team,” said Rihs.
Phonak manager John Lelangue declined to comment on Landis’ future. Landis denies any wrongdoing and will continue to fight a possible two-year ban.
Rihs noted that Phonak was unsuccessful at finding other sponsors due partially to the uncertainty of the team’s ProTour license being renewed as it expires at the end of the year. “For this reason, today I see myself forced to do something I have never done in my whole life as a businessman. I have to give up,” said Rihs in the report.
“We will never enter a team in the Tour de France again,” added Lelangue.
Phonak will participate in 2006 races still scheduled for the rest of the season.