Long-term cycling sponsor Saxo Bank has announced it will not be renewing its partnership with the Tinkoff team in 2016, ending an eight-year association with the outfit.
The decision comes as little surprise, as the team requested a WorldTour licence simply under the name Tinkoff for next season, with rumours that the Danish Bank would pull out circulating for months.
Saxo Bank had a long-running relationship with Bjarne Riis, who sold the team to Oleg Tinkov ahead of the 2014 season, but the Dane was effectively sacked from managing the team during the 2015 season.
“It has been a privilege working with the team over the past eight seasons and we are extremely proud of the numerous successes we have achieved together during this time,” said Saxo Bank co-CEOs Lars Seier Christensen and Kim Fournais.
“We would like to thank both the current team as well as the heroes from the past, from Bjarne Riis over Alberto Contador, Peter Sagan, the Schleck Brothers, Fabian Cancellara, Carlos Sastre to Matti Breschel, Chris Anker Sørensen and all the other riders whose passion and integrity have boosted the teams and our own brand as a sponsor both in Denmark as well as globally.”
That star-studded roster notched up five Grand Tour wins in eight seasons, including the 2015 Giro d’Italia with Contador. They also picked up two Monument Classics, through Andy Schleck (Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2009) and Nick Nuyens (Tour of Flanders 2011), and Cancellara (Milan-San Remo 2008; Paris-Roubaix and Flanders 2010).
Cancellara won two of his three World Championships time trial titles under Saxo Bank sponsorship, while Sagan finished the Danish bank’s time with the team by winning the rainbow stripes in Richmond this year.
Saxo Bank remain sponsors of the Lotus Formula One team, while Christensen has also recently bought a 43 per cent share of his local ice hockey team in Rungsted.