August 16, 2007 (Stockholm, Sweden) — Unibet has decided to end its sponsorship of a Continental cycling team at the end of this season reports according to their web site Unibet.com (click here). Unibet, an online gambling company, and its predecessor, Mr Bookmaker, have supported a continental cycling team since 2002.
In December, 2006, Unibet was awarded a UCI ProTour license and the expectation was that they would participate in the major races. But during the 2007 season the team was excluded from the “Grand Tours” (Tour de France, Vuelta, Giro, etc). Unibet, an online sports betting site listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, has consequently decided to end its sponsorship announced in a press release yesterday.
“We would like to salute the professionalism of the entire team of Green Cycle Associates AB, its managers and cyclists. This mutually-taken decision was a very difficult one, but as the team and the individual riders had been excluded to compete for discriminatory and inconsistent reasons, Unibet had no other choice,” explained Petter Nylander, CEO of Unibet.
Team general manager Koen Terryn blamed the situation on “being taken hostage” by the Amaury Sports Organisation (which owns the TdF) in the ASO’s war against the UCI.
This news follows the announcement that the Texas-based Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team will cease operations at the end of this season.