Tinkoff Bank will no longer be a co-sponsor of Saxo-Tinkoff after this season, the team has announced. Team owner Bjarne Riis cited a lack of “common views” and disagreements as to how the team should be run. He will now start looking for a new co-sponsor for the coming season.
"During the course of our extensive negotiations with Tinkoff Bank it has become clear that we are unable to settle on common views and the ideas that are necessary for our partnership to grow and be successful for both parties beyond 2013. Most importantly, we disagree on how the team should be run,” Riis said in team press release.
“For all of these reasons, I have decided to explore other possibilities and end the negotiations with Tinkoff Bank. I would like to thank Oleg Tinkov personally and Tinkoff Bank for their great contribution to the team. I look forward to working with Tinkoff Bank for the rest of 2013, and will also take this opportunity to wish them all the best for the future.”
Saxo Bank had already announced that it would stay with the team through 2014, “to help ensure the future of the team.” It has been with the team since 2008. Earlier this week, the bank admitted that there were difficulties with their negotiations with Oleg Tinkov for the coming year.
"We already have a strong portfolio of partners onboard, and our key partner Saxo Bank have told us that they are ready to continue their sponsorship in 2014 and are willing to help us find a solution that benefit all parties involved. So I'm confident we will be able to continue to field a strong and competitive team in the years to come," Bjarne Riis added.
Oleg Tinkov had in fact indicated on Twitter a few days ago that he would no longer sponsor the team, after earlier suggesting that he would take over sponsorship. “@RealHSPplayer i am leaving saxo, you dont have to)- if you have $$ wchich is doubt-spondor riis- he needs 6 million” [sic].
Since the end of the Tour de France, where Saxo-Tinkoff captain Alberto Contador finished off the podium in fourth place, Tinkov has criticized the Spaniard via Twitter. “Conta performance wasn't good. He need to change many things in his preparation and be more PRO. Will he do that? That's the question...” and later, “His salary doesn't match his performance. Too rich and isn't hungry, that's my opinion, and I deserve it. He must work harder”.
He later claimed that “I am pushing him to be better! Maybe I am helping him, will see”.
Saxo Bank will help with search
Saxo Bank communications director Kasper Elbjørn told Ekstrabladet.dk that the bank wanted to “confirm that we ourselves continue our sponsorship in 2014.” He added that bank director Lars Seier “has also told Bjarne Riis that we'd love to be helpful in finding a new sponsor.”
His only comment on Tinkoff ending the sponsorship was, “I would say that we have had a professional relationship with Oleg Tinkov. But it is of course clear that we do things in a slightly different way.”