Saxo Bank confirms it will step up its investment in Contador’s team, will cover shortfall caused by Tinkoff departure
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saxo Bank confirms it will step up its investment in Contador’s team, will cover shortfall caused by Tinkoff departure

by Shane Stokes at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riis, Contador and sponsors speak about goals to develop team and increase success

Saxo BankAfter the withdrawal of Tinkoff Bank plus the related loss an estimated six million Euro from the 2014 budget, Saxo Bank has today announced that it will step up its commitment to cover the shortfall on Bjarne Riis’s team and will support him in his search for additional sponsors.

The announcement was made at a press conference held in Madrid and there Riis, star rider Alberto Contador and the Saxo Bank backers pledged to work together to achieve important goals in 2014.

“There have been a lot of rumours and speculation around our team,” said Riis at the press conference. “For that reason I am happy to be able to sit in front of you and hopefully put an end to this speculation. I am very proud to let you know that the team will continue, that we will have a team for next year.”

Riis made clear that the squad would have the same strength of riders that it had this season, and that he was hoping that the quality would perhaps be even higher.

“Of course it is our aim to be among the absolute best on the World Tour, have a great team and hopefully a lot of wins.”

Contador welcomed the deal, describing it as a great day for him and for cycling, and said that it should put an end to what he said was much inaccurate speculation in recent weeks.

That speculation included claims that he would leave the team and race for Fernando Alonso, that he was not getting on well with Riis, and that he would be forced to take a fifteen percent pay cut.

He didn’t get into specifics about all the rumours, but said that in general, stories in the press were not accurate.

“There have been much talk of people going out, coming in, leaving, arriving and also talk of a crisis between myself and Bjarne,” said the multiple Grand Tour winner. “All these comments that have appeared in the press are false.

“I am very excited…continuing with Riis and Saxo is great for me as I have never had such cooperation as I have here. It is the best team to guarantee a good year in sport. I hope 2014 will be good for us.”

Contador returned from his suspension last summer and won the Vuelta a España. He appeared to be heading back to his best form, but this season was a disappointment. He took just one win, a stage in the Vuelta a San Luis, and had to accept a final finishing position of fourth overall in the Tour de France.

He said that he was determined to perform better next season. “The 2013 season has not finished but I am already thinking about coming here in 2014. I am fully hopeful that it will be a good year for us.

“Of course there will have to be some changes to make, especially in the way we are working. This year will end with not all of the objectives being met. We had hoped for more and will aim higher.”

The sponsor Saxo Bank will of course also be hoping for that, but added that the team’s value is more than just race results. Co founder and co-CEO Lars Seier Christensen said that Riis, Contador and others worked with Saxo Bank’s financial clients in recent days, with a group from the latter going to Italy to see ll Lombardia and also spending time on the Formula One track in Monza on Monday.

He said that Riis and Contador also met clients in Switzerland and Paris, had more interactions today in Madrid and will do so tomorrow in London. He emphasised the value of that, and said that it is another benefit of the backing.

“We believe it is a good deal, especially when you calculate the number of viewers. Cycling pretty much beats every sponsorship there is,” he said. “It is the best means to achieve a maximum reach for a good cost.

“In cycling, the team takes the name of the main sponsor. The brand name is mentioned again and again in every race and by every media. Teams are also in many local events in addition to the Grand Tours.”

He said that because Saxo Bank has 26 offices around the world, that it is very important for the company to sponsor an international sport such as cycling.

However he added that the bank’s clients appreciate being able to get an insight into the team and Riis. “He is a very professional leader and businessman, and that is something our clients appreciate and can learn from,” stated Christensen.

“Cycling is becoming more and more popular. It is the new golf in financial circles today. That is what makes the decision to step up fairly easy.”

The backing of the bank has in recent years been done on a season by season basis. The tone of today’s conference appeared to suggest that may have changed, and Riis emphasised the importance of knowing where the team stands in that regard.

“It is absolutely important for us that Saxo Bank understands the importance of a long term partnership and how to get the best terms out of that,” he said.

“Saxo Bank will also support us in continuing our search for additional sponsors in order to extend our ambitions for next year and beyond.

“Personally I am very confident that we will achieve our goals.”

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