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Saxo Bank-SunGard denies Astana merger rumour

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
September 14, 2011, 08:36,
Updated:
September 14, 2011, 10:16
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The Saxo Bank Sungard team was first off.

The Saxo Bank Sungard team was first off.

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Danish team says new signings may be announced before Worlds

Saxo Bank-SunGard has denied media rumours that it is planning a merger with Team Astana in 2012.The team is putting together its plans for the 2012 season, and they do not involve a merger, a team spokesman said.

 “Saxo Bank-SunGard has no current plans to merge with anyone,” spokesman Anders Damgaard told sporten.tv2.dk. “It is the season for speculation and the merger between Leopard Trek and RadioShack has not made the rumours any less.”

The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported the rumour on Tuesday, saying that mutual bike supplier Specialized was encouraging the deal. The discussion were said to have started after the Tour de France stage to Alpe d'Huez.

"We are working these days to put together the team for next season and we hope soon we can announce something," Damgaard said.

One of those announcements is rumoured to be Christopher Froome of Team Sky, who finished a surprising second in the Vuelta a Espana. Froome held informal talks with Riis at the end of the Vuelta and would replace Australia's Richie Porte, who will ride for Team Sky in 2012.

"I cannot confirm whether we are in negotiations with Chris Froome. I can only say that we are working intensively to find one or more new riders for the team. But what will happen, time will tell,” Damgaard told sporten.dk.

“Perhaps there will be news to report even before the World Championships,” he hinted. Froome said he is likely to decide his future this week but also has other offers, including a five-year deal from Team Sky. 

The only new signing that Saxo Bank-SunGard has announced so far is new professional Christopher Juul-Jensen.  Three riders have said they are leaving: Porte and fellow Australians Baden Cooke and Luke Roberts. Cooke has signed with GreenEdge, with Roberts also being linked to the new Australian team.