Saxo Bank will continue to sponsor Bjarne Riis's team, even without Alberto Contador. The Spaniard's two-year ban for doping “is not something that affects our attitude toward sponsorship,” the bank said Monday.
Contador's suspension will exclude him from riding the Tour de France this summer, but he is expected to take part in the Vuelta a Espana.
“Of course we are disappointed about it here and I feel personally with Alberto, for I am sure he has not done anything wrong,” Saxo Bank Director Lars Seier Christensen told sporten.tv2.dk.
“But such is the system, and we must look ahead and there'll be winning races anyway.”
The bank is estimated to pay 60 to 70 million Kroner (8 to 9.4 million Euro) to the team annually. It is not known whether Riis must pay anything back due to the loss of Contador.
"We will not comment on the detailed conditions in our contract,” Christensen said.
The bank has sponsored the team since 2008. Its contract expired after the 2010 season, but the backer signed up for another year when Riis announced Contador's signing for the 2011 season. Saxo Bank renewed again for the 2012 season, with another one-year sponsoring contract.