DeFeet, the North Carolina sock maker, announced it had ended its sponsorship of the Vini Fantini professional cycling team because two of its members tested positive in recent weeks for the performance enhancing substance EPO.


“It is unfortunate that clean athletes in any sport must pay the price for the those who feel they must cheat to get ahead,” the company sad in a post on its Facebook page. “We are sorry for the riders and staff in the Vini Fantini team that may be negatively affected by such actions. We feel that our voice should be but one in a giant chorus of companies that stand for clean sport.”



Big brands should be decisive, too,” the company said in subsequent post to readers comments. “What message do brands send young athletes when they either dont act or keep supporting those that wracked with cheating charges? Young athletes – and their parents – need to be shown that it’s not ok, it’s not the culture, and it wont be tolerated.



“As a company, you never enter a partnership with this outcome in mind. We dont want to bash riders who are positive, that’s not the point. However, it is crystal clear that companies should never be the ones to defend those with positives. We have seen that all too often in the sport of cycling.”