The CEO of Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen, denied today that the company which has sponsored the team of Bjarne Riis since 2008 would withdraw its support of the Tinkoff-Saxo team after this season, stating that no decision has been made.
It was reported today in L'Equipe that Saxo Bank would end its sponsorship of the squad because of the exit of Riis, who ended his position as lead directeur sportif by "mutual agreement" with owner Oleg Tinkov.
Seier's continued support of the team has been largely due to his friendship with Riis, but he said on Facebook that business will be the deciding factor on whether or not the company's partnership with the team extends beyond its current contract, which ends this year.
"I don't know where people find inspiration for this kind of articles," Seier wrote on Facebook. "We have a one-year contract for 2015, as always, and I can categorically deny that we have taken any decision about 2016. The decision will be, as always, taken during the autumn, and will, as always, depend on the results, the value of branding, and what is the price of alternatives. Nothing new there."
Tinkov himself was surprised at the story, writing on Twitter, "It seems that journalists know more than I do. We appreciate the sponsorship of Saxo Bank and are proud to have them on board. We will stay together."
Riis owned the team until 2013, when he sold his interest to Tinkov and stayed on as lead directeur sportif for a reported €1 million per year for three years. Tinkov was critical of the team's performance this year, but denied it led to the pair parting ways.