T-Mobile, the telecommunications giant, has confirmed that it will continue sponsoring the ProTour cycling squad that carries its name. The German team ? which has two British riders, sprint star Mark Cavendish and Classsics specialist Roger Hammond, currently in its line-up ? made the announcement on Thursday, the day before the start of their country?s biggest bike race, the Deutschland Tour.

T-Mobile had requested time to think over a possible revision of its contract with the team following Patrik Sinkewitz’s positive for testosterone prior to the Tour de France.

Coupled with the confessions this spring of doping within the team in the 1990s, and the drugs scandals of the Tour this summer ? the latter led to two German television channels cancelling their broadcasting contract with the race – the squad wanted the chance to reconsider its position.

However, following behind-the-scenes negotiations between the management and the telecommunications giant, T-Mobile have finally decided to continue sponsoring a bike team. The German team ? which has one of the most sophisticated anti-doping programs in sport ? has a sponsorship deal which ends in 2010, and this will be respected.

Hamid Akhaven, Chairman of T-Mobile International, said in a statement on Thursday, ?we want to continue our involvement in cycling and support its effort to become a cleaner sport.?

New anti-doping measures include both athletes and team management making a personal financial contribution to the battle against doping, to be topped up by T-Mobile to a total of 1,000,000 euros.

The team will also meet up with the World Anti Doping Agency and various National anti-doping agencies to support expanded and more effective testing methods.

T-Mobile also warns that in the event of future positive dope tests in the squad, it reserves the right to end the agreement.

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EXTERNAL LINKS

T-Mobile team: www.t-mobile-team.com.