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SBD Global/December 3, 2013/Franchises

Russian Businessman Oleg Tinkov Buys Saxo-Tinkoff Cycling, Renames It Tinkoff-Saxo

Russian businessman Oleg Tinkov has "bought the Saxo-Tinkoff cycling team from long-time Owner Bjarne Riis and renamed it Tinkoff-Saxo," according to Matt Westby of SKY SPORTS. Months after announcing he would "withdraw his sponsorship of the squad, Tinkov has performed a U-turn by taking over full ownership of management company Riis Cycling, which will now be known as Tinkoff Sport." Riis, who had owned the team since '00, will move into a general manager role for "at least three years," while "five-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador will continue as the team's spearhead on the road" despite being criticized by Tinkov during this year's Tour de France. Tinkov's Tinkoff Credit Systems company will be the "team's primary sponsor, with Danish investors Saxo Bank becoming a secondary backer." The takeover was "initially speculated a month ago but was at the time denied by the team's press officer" (SKY SPORTS, 12/2). AS reported the "sale of the team seals a love-hate relationship between Tinkov and Contador." Tinkov recently tweeted, "Riis is the best sporting director in the crowd. I also believe that Contador is capable of winning the Tour" (AS, 12/2).
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