Bicycle component manufacturing giant Shimano has issued an anti-doping statement saying that any of its sponsored teams found guilty of doping practices will have its sponsorship removed and all Shimano components will have to be returned.
It may seem odd that a component manufacturer should join in the fight against doping in such a firm manner, but the Japanese company invests millions of pounds in providing professional teams and riders with cycle equipment.
As such, Shimano ranks among the largest sponsors of professional cycling and the company evidently does not want to be associated with any drug-related scandal, particularly as it is now joint sponsor of Skil-Shimano, which is currently aiming for a ProTour licence.
"The two positive tests at Euskaltel-Euskadi, particularly when the team stood behind Mikel Astarloza, is the direct reasoning behind this message," explained Shimano's PR and Marketing Officer, Harald Troost.
"We won't accept doping full stop and I think we are the first company in the bike industry to make such a statement.
"We will continue our partnership with Euskaltel, but if there is proof of a team management's involvement with doping we will withdraw our involvement with a team," said Troost.
In future, any team wishing to open sponsorship negotiations with Shimano will have to show its anti-doping statement to the company for scrutiny.
Established in 1921 in Japan, Shimano now manufactures a whole range of bicycle components including gears, brakes, pedals, shoes and clothing. It is one of largest global manufacturers of cycling equipment in addition to being a leading player in the fishing tackle market. The company recently ventured into the rowing market.
The statement, issued on Thursday, read as follows:
With this statement, Shimano would like to make clear to all parties involved that we would like to strive for a fair and drugs free sport to protect the future of cycling for next generations. Besides the bad impact to the reputation of the sport, we all know Doping and Drugs are damaging and destroying the health and image of especially young people in and outside of the sport. Therefore we are taking a firm stand against doping in general and in the cycling sport in particular.
Basic guidelines in Shimano's anti doping policy:
• All our contracts and sponsorship-relations are made under the condition and in the believe that there is no doping involved in the particular team or with the individual athletes
• If the team management of one of our sponsored teams (no matter in which cycling discipline) is involved in any doping affair, we will stop our sponsorship of this team immediately
• If an individual rider is involved in any doping affair without the knowledge of the team management, the team will be given the chance to give a clear explanation and a future improvement & control plan to Shimano, upon that it will be decided to continue the sponsoring or not. If another doping incident occurs within the same team, we will keep the option of terminating our sponsorship contract
• Terminating a sponsorship contract means return of all Shimano materials or other contributions that have been supplied to the concerned team immediately.
This anti doping policy is already stated in our ongoing sponsorship contracts but Shimano feels it is valuable to emphasize this ones more to make it clear for everybody what is our opinion about the use of doping in sport. For all our future sponsorship negotiations it is essential for us that the teams show us their anti doping policy in advance.
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