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Sports

German Cycling Faces Extinction as Sponsor Milram Reconsiders

Germany could be without a professional cycling team soon as Milram team sponsor Nordmilch confirmed it is reconsidering its future in the doping-infested sport.

Pack of cyclists

Former sponsors T-Mobile and Gerolsteiner have already pulled out

"We can confirm that we are checking our engagement," said a Nordmilch spokeswoman from the dairy products company headquarters in Bremen, Germany.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Thursday that Nordmilch lawyers are looking into whether the company can get out of the contract with team boss Gerry van Gerwen which is valid until 2010.

Van Gerwen did not want to comment on the report, referring to a December meeting with Nordmilch, but said he had a valid contract until 2010.

Nordmilch is spending an estimated 9 million euros ($11.7 million) per year on the team. But the constant doping debate and the withdrawal of German state networks ARD and ZDF from broadcasting the 2009 Tour de France have led to second thoughts over the engagement.

Nordmilch has been in cycling since 2006 and Linus Gerdemann was recently named new team captain.

T-Mobile ended its engagement last year over massive doping at the team and Gerolsteiner's engagement ends at the end of the year. A similar decision by Nordmilch would mark the extinction of pro cycling in Germany.

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