After eight years of sponsoring the team, Saxo Bank’s future with the Tinkoff-Saxo team still remains uncertain. The current deal with Saxo Bank is due to come to a close later this year and the team’s owner Oleg Tinkov has told the Danish press that he could manage without secondary sponsor for the 2016 season.
"Why should I have a co-sponsor? This looks nicer with just one name,” Tinkov defiantly told Danish website bt.dk.
Saxo Bank CEO Lars Seier Christensen is expected to begin discussions with Tinkov immediately after the Tour de France to decide whether or not they will continue with the team. The Danish bank has had a long relationship with the team, first sponsoring them in 2008 when it was owned by former rider Bjarne Riis. After 18 months of sponsorship, Tinkov took over ownership of the team at the end of the 2013 season with his own Tinkoff Bank taking lead sponsorship. Saxo Bank stayed on as a sponsor while Riis remained as a directeur sportif.
However, Tinkov and Riis parted ways in March of this year and, since then, rumours have cropped up of the bank’s departure from the team. Earlier this season Christensen denied that he had planned to exit the team in light of Riis' departure. However, rumours have emerged that they may be interested in joining up with the Dane once again in a new venture.
Despite being bullish about going it alone next season, and perhaps considering the blows his own company took in the stock market earlier this year, Tinkov hasn’t discounted keeping Saxo Bank on. "Lars is always welcome to share a bottle of wine with me, it's no problem," said Tinkov. "If Lars makes a proposal, then we look at it, but we do not have problems with sponsors for the next season.”
Tinkov-Saxo are currently leading the points classification at the Tour de France with Peter Sagan, while their GC hope Alberto Contador is seemingly struggling with fatigue following his victory at the Giro d’Italia and is over four minutes down.