Riis sells cycling team to Russian sponsors

When the UCI World Tour season starts next year, there will be no Danish-owned team on the roster

When Albert Contador and his fellow Team Saxo-Tinkoff (TST) teammates saddle up for next year’s UCI World Tour pre-season preparations, they won’t be riding for a Danish team any longer. Instead, they will ride under Russian banners.

Bjarne Riis, TST’s long-standing team owner, shocked the Danish cycling community on Monday by announcing in London that that he has decided to sell his cycling team to Oleg Tinkoff, the owner of TST’s co-sponsor Tinkoff Credit Systems.

Riis, who will continue on as sporting director of the team, said Oleg Tinkoff would be the sole owner of the team and Tinkoff Credit Systems would become the main sponsor, with Saxo Bank becoming a secondary sponsor.

“It’s a great day for my team and a day that I have been dreaming of for a long time,” Riis said in a press conference. “With Oleg’s purchase and the resources that come with it, we can make a world-class team. The ambition is to become number one in the world, and I think we can fulfil that goal in the coming years.”

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Tinkoff-Saxo from 2014
Oleg Tinkoff was elated with his latest purchase, saying that he was delighted that Riis would stay on and that the future indeed looked bright for the team.

“I want to congratulate Bjarne. It’s fantastic news for both of us. I’ve always had a dream to work with Bjarne Riis because he is the best business partner,” Tinkoff said in a press release. “We started as sponsors of Team Saxo Bank, and today I am very happy because I’ve bought the team and kept Bjarne on as manager.”

Riis is estimated to have earned about 45 million kroner from the sale of his team, which will from 2014 be called Tinkoff-Saxo.