The following statement is from Phonak’s cycling team website
Team owner Andy Rihs withdraws from pro cycling. After carefully examining all the alternatives, he will disband the Phonak Cycling Team at the end of the year. The deciding factor in this decision is the doping case of team captain Floyd Landis.
“As a passionate cyclist, I am bitterly disappointed that 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 Cycling Team per the end of 2006,” Andy Rihs explains the reason for his decision. He has done everything possible to avoid any doping cases in his team and had even introduced the strictest controls internally of all ProTour teams. Nevertheless, the fatal solo initiative of one rider could not be avoided. “For this reason, today I see myself forced to do something I have never done in my whole life as a businessman: I have given up!” Rihs said and emphasized that this decision has been very difficult for him. “I am particularly sorry for our young promising Swiss riders who share no guilt in this development, as well as for the competent staff members.”
Happier days – Alpe d’Huez TdF 2006
The team offered numerous young as well as experienced Swiss and international riders the opportunity of participating in the sport of cycling at its highest level over the last seven years. “I deeply regret that I can no longer do this in the future.”
Together with the team management, Rihs intensively looked for alternatives over the last several days. However, after careful consideration and examination of all possibilities, it has become clear that successor solutions for the Phonak Cycling Team are not possible – for financial reasons and also due to the uncertainty with regard to the renewal of the ProTour licence that expires at the end of this year. Rihs came to an agreement with the new global title sponsor iShares regarding an early termination of the title sponsorship contract.
The team will continue to participate in all the races scheduled for the remainder of 2006. The riders will thus have the opportunity of presenting themselves as valid candidates for other teams. Also, Rihs will support – wherever possible – the employees, in particular the young Swiss riders, in their searches for new jobs.