Tinkov’s negotiations with Saxo Bank team ‘difficult, but ongoing’
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tinkov’s negotiations with Saxo Bank team ‘difficult, but ongoing’

by Shane Stokes at 10:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
No decision yet, despite Twitter declarations that Russian businessman will walk away

Team Saxo TinkoffThe team of Alberto Contador appears still to be uncertain of the position of Oleg Tinkov as co-sponsor, with confusion existing about whether or not he will continue as a backer of the team.

A Twitter account in his name – which appears to be genuine – has made clear that he is not happy with the performance of team leader Alberto Contador. He describes the Spaniard as overpaid, and said that victory is the only thing which counts.

He indicated yesterday that he intended ceasing his involvement, and that team owner Bjarne Riis would have to look elsewhere for the sum of six million euro.

However the title sponsor’s chief press officer Kasper Elbjørn told VeloNation today that his understanding is that no decision has been made.

“What I know is that the negotiations are difficult, but ongoing,” he said. “They are still talking. We have told the team that we ourselves would like to continue for 2014.”

Saxo Bank’s sponsorship of the team has been done on a year by year basis. This contrasts with many of the sponsorships in cycling, and introduces greater uncertainty, but Elbjørn explains that all of the Saxo Bank company’s arrangements are done that way. “It’s not just our cycling sponsorship that is year by year,” he said.

Asked about Tinkov’s indications on Twitter that he would likely walk away, he said that what mattered were that talks were continuing.

“Saxo Bank is not following Oleg Tinkov on Twitter. The only thing I can say is that negotiations are ongoing with him.”

Repeated attempts by VeloNation to contact the team’s press officer about the sponsorship situation have not been successful. An email request for clarification has not yet been answered.

Prior to the Tour de France, Tinkov appeared to indicate that he wanted to take over title sponsorship, becoming the first named sponsor in the Team Saxo Tinkoff name.

Now, with Chris Froome winning and Alberto Contador finishing fourth in the race, his enthusiasm appears to have cooled.

It is unclear if Riis has a plan B if Tinkov does not remain involved. Several high profile signings were made last year on the basis of the extra budget the Tinkoff Bank deal brought.

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