Saxo Bank has confirmed that the presence or otherwise of Alberto Contador on the pro team that bears its name, will not affect its position as a sponsor in 2011.
Contador, currently provisionally suspended from racing after traces of clenbuterol were discovered in his system during the Tour de France, is due to join Bjarne Riis’ operation for the coming season.
Saxo Bank initially had been planning not to renew its sponsorship of the team for 2011, but once the contract with Contador was announced, the online trading and investment specialist reversed that decision. It has emerged that a clause in the sponsorship contract would allow Saxo Bank to back out of the deal if Contador is not contracted to the team.
Lars Seier Christensen, Co-CEO and co-founder of Saxo Bank told PR Newswire: “I have agreed with Bjarne Riis and the team management that Saxo Bank will ignore this clause if Alberto Contador, against expectations, will not be on the team next year.
"While I am obviously not an expert, I personally trust Alberto Contador's explanation and expect him to be able to ride for the team in 2011 as planned.”
The Saxo Bank chief executive added that the decision to continue its sponsorship is based on a desire to support Bjarne Riis.
“It is hard to exaggerate the role that Bjarne Riis plays in Danish and international cycling. This is also true for his development of the anti-doping program everyone uses, today. Regardless of the outcome of this sad case, we have unwavering confidence in Bjarne Riis,” said Christensen.
“We want to be part of the efforts to ensure that Danish cycling continues to have the best possible platform to maintain its international lead. Just look how Matti Breschel came second in this year's World championship. It is an enormous inspiration and motivation for young Danish talents that we have a world class cycling team in Denmark.”