The Danish element at Team Tinkoff-Saxo has been dwindling considerably since Bjarne Riis sold the World Tour cycling team to the Russian banker Oleg Tinkoff in late 2013.
First Riis was let go as sporting director earlier this year, and a number of Danish riders have taken their trade to other teams. Now, the Danish connection seems all but dissipated as co-head sponsor Saxo Bank has announced it will not renew its sponsorship for next season.
“It has been a privilege working with the team over the past eight seasons, and we are extremely proud of the numerous successes we have achieved together during this time,” said Lars Seier Christensen and Kim Fournais, the co-CEOs and co-founders of Saxo Bank.
“We would especially like to thank Oleg Tinkov, the team’s current owner, and the management of Team Tinkoff-Saxo for the partnership. We look forward to finishing the season in style together as cycling will always have a special place in our hearts and we wish the team continued success”.
The move is not a big surprise as Tinkoff recently registered the team as merely ‘Team Tinkoff’ in the licence application for next year’s World Tour.
Two Danes in 2016
Saxo Bank has been the main or co-main sponsor of the cycling team for eight years and helped Bjarne Riis build it up from nothing to becoming one of the best in the world.
Rumours have been swirling that Saxo Bank might once again team up with Riis on another cycle project, but neither party has confirmed anything.
Among the riders who have donned the team’s colours are Alberto Contador, Peter Sagan, the Schleck brothers, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre and Ivan Basso.
As of now, just two Danish riders – youngsters Michael Valgren and Jesper Hansen – are part of the cycling team for the 2016 season, while Nicki Sørensen and Lars Michaelsen remain on the training staff.