Report: Contador accepts pay cut due to Team Saxo Bank’s financial pressures
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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Report: Contador accepts pay cut due to Team Saxo Bank’s financial pressures

by VeloNation Press at 6:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riis continues to hunt for replacement sponsor for Tinkoff Bank

Bjarne riis Alberto ContadorBjarne Riis continues to look for a second title sponsor for his team, hoping to fill the gap created when Tinkoff Bank departs at the end of the year, but it appears that for now at least, his top rider has to tighten his belt.

Danish publication BT has reported that Alberto Contador has accepted a fifteen percent pay cut, dropping him down from an estimated 25 million Krone [approx. 3.35 million euro – ed.] per year to 21.25 million Krone [2.84 million euro].

The newspaper adds that Contador also gets an estimated 15 million Krone [2 million euro] from Specialized, his bike and equipment sponsor.

While Riis is said to be in talks with two interested companies, the UCI deadline for submission of documents is in fifteen days’ time. By then he must have at least 23 riders plus team staff on contract; it is believed that currently there are sixteen riders signed up.

He must also provide a bank guarantee and prove to the UCI that he has the finances required to run a WorldTour team. If it is not satisfied with any aspect of the application, the team could be refused a WorldTour licence and have to race instead as a Pro Continental team in 2014, relying on wildcard invites to races.

Riis is working hard on bringing a new backer on board and will hope to have something finalised before the October 20th date.

BT contacted Contador’s agent and brother Fran Contador, who referred them to the rider’s spokesman Jacinto Vidarte. He didn’t want to go into details about wages.

“I have not any information about it, and it is not important at this time,” he said. “Right now it is important that the team will continue and that Contador continues on the team. That's all we have to say.”

It is not clear if other riders have also been asked to take a pay cut.

Contador joined the team in 2011 but was then given a suspension due to his positive test for Clenbuterol in the 2010 Tour de France. He returned to racing last August, signing a new deal with the team.

The Spaniard won the Vuelta a España, but has not performed at his usual level since then. He notched up just one win this season, a stage of the Vuelta a San Luis, and was only fourth in the Tour de France.

Oleg Tinkov, the owner of Tinkoff Bank, was critical of Contador during the Tour, saying that he was not working hard enough and was overpaid.

That public criticism was reflective of a loss of patience with the team, while Riis is known to have been frustrated with both that and with Tinkov’s erratic Tweets during the Tour. The Russian was argumentative with supporters of the team and of Contador.

He has indicated that he will be involved with another team instead this season. Rumours have linked him with the Cannondale team; yesterday, when contacted by VeloNation, that team said that it had nothing to say at this point in time about suggestions that Tinkov will become a sponsor.

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