Saxo Bank to end sponsorship of Bjarne Riis' team after 2010 season
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Saxo Bank to end sponsorship after 2010

by Steve Jones at 9:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Bjarne Riis has said in a statement today that Saxo Bank will be ending their sponsorship of his team at the end of the 2010 season. Riis' team was already having difficulty financially, and with the world economy still suffering, the decision was not unexpected. The problems for the team began when co-sponsor IT Factory declared bankruptcy at the beginning of the 2009 season, but the rising stock of riders like Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara have also had an impact on the team's finances.

This news comes on the heels of an announcement yesterday by the Milram team that the dairy company would also end their title sponsorship at the end of 2010.

Like many teams, Saxo Bank has lost several key riders during the off-season including Lars Bak, Kurt Asle-Arvesen, Karsten Kroon, and Alexandr Kolobnev. But the Dane remains positive about the situation, saying in a statement, "We have had excellent cooperation with Saxo Bank and I know that at the end of this year we will look back at two-and-a-half years of great results and many shared successes. This year we will cooperate with Saxo Bank and we have high hopes for the season. "

Riis said last month that after a couple of years where the world has endured tough economic times, he thought the team's best option for dealing with their financial issues was to cut back their race schedule, and put their primary focus on the big races. Saxo Bank's roster has decreased by three riders for 2010, and putting in a full schedule Riis thought would prove difficult.

"We have one of the strongest teams in the world with some of the greatest riders," he explained. "The experiences and challenges of the past have prepared the team for this situation." Riis feels his team is more organized and prepared than ever before to take on the challenges of having a successful season and securing a new sponsor.

During the 2008 season Saxo Bank stepped in as a co-sponsor of Riis' then CSC team. For 2009 the bank took over the title sponsorship of the team on the heels of Carlos Sastre's Tour de France win. Sastre moved on to the Cervelo Testteam, but a maturing Andy Schleck took over the helm as Grand Tour leader of the team. Schleck has established himself as one of the biggest talents in the sport, and is again expected to have a big season under Riis' wing.


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