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Saxo Bank supports Riis and Contador but founders put shares up for sale

The Saxo Bank team, with Andy Schleck leading the way.

The Saxo Bank team, with Andy Schleck leading the way. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Saxo Bank continues to support Bjarne Riis and his team and believes in the innocence of newly-signed Alberto Contador although it has been announced that the three stockholders in the bank have put all their shares up for sale, with rumours that the Danish government is investigating the company.

“We will respect our commitment to the team, with or without Contador,” bank partner and co-owner Lars Christensen told Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Christensen said he believed Contador's claims that his positive doping control for Clenbuterol came from eating contaminated meat.

“I'm no expert, but the explanation given is the most plausible one. I thought from the beginning that he is the victim of a very unfortunate incident. We all hope that does not cause major problems.”

While he has not spoken with Contador, he has spoken often with Riis. “It is very important that Contador knows we believe in his innocence and that we respect the sponsorship agreement, and that we want to have Contador with us. We therefore hope that this matter is cleared up as soon as possible.”

The bank had earlier announced that it would end its sponsorship at the end of this season, but then changed its mind and added another year. During the Tour, Christensen said, Riis mentioned the possibility of Contador joining the team to make up for the loss of Andy and Fränk Schleck.

“I told him if he succeeded, Saxo Bank would sponsor the team for another year. We are involved because we think that Contador is the best cyclist in the world. The prospect of signing Contador was decisive.”

Bank for sale

The bank's support for the team may not be further extended, as the bank is for sale. It was reported on Thursday that Christensen and co-founder Kim Fournais, who own a total of 60 per cent of the bank, and the private equity fund General Atlantic, which owns 30.1 percent, have put all their shares up for sale.

"The whole shop is up for sale. There are exit plans for all three major shareholders," said a source close to the deal, according to the Danish news website

The website also said that “the process is currently delayed by the fact that the Danish authorities are currently investigating a number of issues about Saxo Bank.”

Saxo Bank spokesman Kaspar Elbjørn said, “We will not comment on such rumours."

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