DIGNE-LES-BAINS, France - Barloworld will withdraw its cycling sponsorship after one of its riders was expelled from this year's doping-marred Tour de France.
The move will be made immediately after the race ends July 27 in Paris.
Barloworld rider Moises Duenas Nevado of Spain tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO earlier this week.
"They don't want to be involved anymore in a sport that is dangerous to their image," team manager Claudio Corti said after stage--. "It's a disappointment for cycling. It hurts the sport, but we have to thank Barloworld, because they had nothing to do with this story (doping)."
In a statement Saturday, the South African industrial conglomerate said its team has a "zero tolerance" policy on doping and that the doping scandal has had a "negative impact" on its brand image.
Corti said Barloworld will still respect its financial commitment for the team through 2009.
"We can function without problem through 2009," Corti said. "As for what we'll call ourselves, let's just forget the name for now. What it says on our jersey doesn't matter - whether it's Claudio Corti, or FIAT, or our helmet sponsor - that's not the point."
Discussions are under way to find replacement sponsors.
The Johannesburg-based company Barloworld has interests in the automobile, logistics and equipment sectors.
This year's Tour de France has been rocked by three positive doping tests.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2008 $sourceSection$sourcePage