The biggest sponsor of the Tour de France could be pulling out, and it could be happening as soon as the conclusion of the race this weekend. The T-Mobile Team will learn on Sunday if the mobile phone carrier will withdraw its sponsorship.
“We will consider things and make a decision at the end of this year’s race,” said T-Mobile’s communications director Christian Frommert, whose company have a contract to sponsor the team until 2010.
The Tour de France is professional cycling’s biggest, and most high-profile race, and T-Mobile had been one of the biggest supporters. Cycling’s reputation, and to a lesser degree T-Mobile’s, in Germany was tarnished last week when T-Mobile rider Patrik Sinkewitz was found to have abnormal levels of testosterone in his blood and was suspended from the team. A recent poll by the German edition of The Financial Times showed that only 15 percent of Germans remain interested in this year’s Tour.
There was even talk this year that the race would draw viewers via the third screen, and be a natural launch pad for T-Mobile. But in the wake of last week’s crashes by two other riders, as well as these drug allegations, this is more likely a Tour that T-Mobile would just soon forget.