Despite even tighter controls and warnings concerning doping, and the introduction of the blood passport by the UCI, several major races, including the Giro and Tour were faced with positive tests. In addition, the ongoing feud between the UCI and the race organizations almost came to a definite break in March, when the UCI threatened to suspend riders participating in ASO'sParis–Nice. The cycling federation's ProTour seemed bankrupt halfway through the year when all remaining licensed teams announced their withdrawal. However, at the start of 2009, 16 teams saw their ProTour license renewed and two new teams joined the elite division of cycling. Crédit Agricole and Gerolsteiner stopped sponsorship of a team, and were not succeeded by new sponsors. Other than Gerolsteiner, many German companies who participated in cycling sponsorship in recent years withdrew their financial backing after this year's latest of doping cases related to German cycling. As a result, fewer professional teams and races, among them the Deutschland Tour, will be part of the 2009 season.