Cyclingnews understands that Saxo Bank is still negotiating with Tinkoff about a contract extension with Tinkoff for next season.
The existing contract, in which Saxo Bank are a co-sponsor of the WorldTour team, is due to expire at the end of the season and speculation during the spring and summer indicated that the two parties would go their separate ways this December. Saxo have of course been a major backer of the team since 2008 but when Danish team manager Bjarne Riis was removed from the squad in March it looked as though the Danish bank would also move on. There were even suggestions that they would set up a new team with Riis.
Negotiations between Tinkoff and Saxo have been ongoing since the start of the year but were terminated after the Tour de France. However, Cyclingnews understands that negotiations about a new sponsorship deal at reduced level were reopened this weekend in Madrid.
Tinkoff owner Oleg Tinkov is keen to secure a joint or second sponsor but in the past he had hinted that he could bankroll the entire team for next season.
On Saturday night, at the team’s Vuelta a Espana dinner, Saxo Bank CEO Lars Seier Christensen, announced that negotiations were still ongoing but also hinted that the bank would continue with the team. Seier Christensen gave his speech in front of the team, several sponsors.
“The past six months, the media has been full of reports about our sponsorship and whether or not it will continue,” he said.
“Saxo Bank has a one-year contract in place for 2015, and we have not taken any decision about 2016 yet. Yes, we have discussed the sponsorship thoroughly both internally and with our board, and, yes, we have also discussed this with Oleg Tinkov and his management team.”
While his words do not clarify the future of the bank’s plans, he did confirm that the decision would be announced during the coming weeks.
“But the truth is I don’t know yet. The decision will be, as always, taken during the autumn, and will, as always, depend on the results and the value of branding for Saxo Bank. But no decision has been taken, yet.”
In an interview with Cyclingnews in April, Seier Christensen praised Oleg Tinkov for helping to expand the Danish bank’s interests in Russia. The two banks have also set up a scheme called ‘ride like a pro’ which caters for prospective clients of Saxo, mainly from the UK, Switzerland and Denmark, to live the life of a professional cyclist.