REFILE-Cycling-Tinkoff to end sponsorship of Team Saxo-Tinkoff - Riis

Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:39am BST

(Drops extraneous word preceding byline)

By Philip O'Connor

COPENHAGEN, July 25 (Reuters) - Team Saxo-Tinkoff owner Bjarne Riis has ended negotiations to extend a sponsorship deal with Russia's Tinkoff Bank, according to a statement released by his company Riis Cycling on Thursday.

Riis's team finished the 2013 Tour de France at the top of the team classification, but Riis said that finding common ground to renew the sponsorship deal with Tinkoff had proved impossible.

"During the course of our extensive negotiations with Tinkoff Bank it has become clear that we are unable to settle on common views and the ideas that are necessary for our partnership to grow and be successful," the statement quoted Riise as saying.

"Most importantly, we disagree on how the team should be run. For all of these reasons, I have decided to explore other possibilities and end the negotiations with Tinkoff Bank."

Reports before the Tour last month said that credit card supplier Tinkoff wanted to become sole sponsor of the team.

Riis thanked Tinkoff for their support which began last year, adding that co-title sponsor Saxo Bank of Denmark would continue.

"We already have a strong portfolio of partners onboard, and our key partner Saxo Bank have told us that they are ready to continue their sponsorship in 2014," the statement said.

The team's leading rider is Spaniard Alberto Contador who finished fourth in the Tour. (Additional reporting by Keith Weir in London, editing by Amlan Chakraborty)