Riis in talks with potential new sponsor
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Riis in talks with potential new sponsor

by Conal Andrews at 1:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Nothing is as yet guaranteed, but Bjarne Riis’ ambition to continue onwards with a professional cycling team has moved a small step forward due to talks with a potential new backer.

“We are speaking with a Danish company,” said the Saxo Bank team’s managing director Trey Greenwood to DR Sport. “It has shown interest from several years, but the time and circumstances were never right.

“There have also been enquiries from abroad. But there is nothing [yet] concrete on the negotiating table,” said the director. However he indicates that the riders have full confidence that strong efforts are being made to work something out.

“It is important that the riders are confident that we are doing a good job to get a sponsor, so they can just concentrate on riding a bicycle. And I am sure that they are.”

The team was due to continue with Saxo Bank until the end of next season, but the backer has exercised an option to terminate its association. It said that the team gave it strong exposure, but that the audience did not quite fit the market they were targeting.

Currently, top riders Andy and Frank Schleck plus Fabian Cancellara are part of the squad, as are other talented competitors such as Jakob Fuglsang.

Frank Schleck has already indicated that he and his brother wish to remain with Riis, providing a backer is found. “I would be happy if our cooperation runs longer than 2010,” he told Le Quotidien. “I hope that we don’t fail [to get a new sponsor]. However, it is certain that Andy and I will always ride on the same team together.

“ Right now, we are concentrating on our riding and it is not something that worries us. We will look at it after the Tour de France, when our contract also expires.”

He is convinced that the 2010 version of the squad is a better one than last year’s lineup. “It is my clear impression that we are stronger. I give two names [as an example]: Matti Breschel and Jakob Fuglsang. Matti will be super in the cobbled classics, and Jacob will be with us in the Ardennes, which will give us even greater opportunities.”

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