Tinkoff-Saxo team issues statement on Sunday evening saying that Bjarne Riis will leave his post as manager immediately
- Team does not disclose reasons for Riis's exit

The Tinkoff-Saxo team has parted company with manager and former team owner Bjarne Riis this evening after a brewing feud between him and new owner, Oleg Tinkov.

Danish BT newspaper leaked the news this evening that the team fired the Danish 1996 Tour de France winner. The team confirmed it with a press release.

Tinkov wrote on his Twitter account yesterday that an official announcement would come today. He and Riis had a falling out during the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race earlier this month.

Riis sat home while the team raced Milan-San Remo with Peter Sagan and the Volta a Catalunya with Alberto Contador.

“The Managing company and Bjarne Riis have reached a mutual agreement to terminate all contracts with immediate effect,” read the press statement.

“Tinkoff-Saxo would like to thank its title sponsors, Tinkoff Bank and Saxo Bank, as well as all its other sponsors and suppliers for their continued support and confidence shown ‎in the team.”

The Russian/Danish team said that early next week it would announce Riis’ replacement and a new technical team. Italian Omar Piscina, who was a sports director in Tinkov’s first team, Tinkoff Credit Systems, is tipped to take over for Riis.

The 50-year-old from Herning, Denmark, became a team manager in 1999 with team Home-Jack & Jones and took over control of the team as it became CSC and Saxo Bank.

Riis sold the team to Russian businessman Tinkov in December 2013 for a reported €6m. He became team manager for a rumoured €1m a year.

For Riis, who admitted to doping for his 1996 Tour win and is involved in an investigation at home, it is an unlikely end to his sporting career. With Tinkov’s move, Danish financial company Saxo Bank could likely pull its sponsorship when its contract ends at the end of the 2015 season.

“I myself have tried in recent days to mediate between the parties and have been in constant contact with both Oleg Tinkov and Bjarne Riis,” said CEO of long-time sponsor Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen, on his Facebook page.

“During the process, it has become clear to me that neither of the two, in fact, were particularly keen on finding a solution, [so it] is probably the best outcome under the circumstances.

“Saxo Bank continues its sponsorship … although we have always made it clear that Bjarne was a very important factor for our sponsorship.”

Riis guided Fabian Cancellara to several classics wins and his team to the top of the Tour de France with Carlos Sastre, Fränk and Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador.

  • cat5fred

    Both are overrated (the team and Riis), as far as the riders, well there is one well known doper among them, sooooo……

  • David Bassett

    It seems that his vegetarian diet has let him down this year and the team is struggling, makes you think.

  • ian franklin

    Yes, it may be the best thing to have Riis out of it – but it does raise serious questions about the antics of people like Tinkoff, Vinkorouv (spelling?) and so on. People from some of these countries a re very good at pulling the wool over people’s eyes. They want success in whatever way they can achieve it which means not playing by the rules. I live in Thailand and I see this all the time from the Thai Cycling Association who are able, on the one hand, to convince the UCI that tey play a fair game, but behind the closed doors they cheat in every way possible, bend the UCI rules and run their own ship. That’s the same at Astana and their related development team. It begs the question of how level is the playing field when you throw Iran and Latin America into the mix. It’s OK to say “Well, Armstrong was the biggest liar of all” but that was not a cultural problem – in my opinion one of mental health applicable to him alone. No, countries like Russia, Thailand, Colombia and so on are as corrupt as the day is long. Here in Thailand they won’t issue licences to foreign riders resident here. The UCI turns a blind eye even though it is in clear breach of article 3 of the UCI Constitution. They’ll also send the UCI a different result from the actual result of a UCI points race so that ALL the points go to Thailand. You get the picture. Tinkoff, Vink and so on are no different. They are bought up in cultures where corruption is an accepted norm so they’re not going to start con forming to UCI rules or standards of behaviour just because Brian Cookson says so. Tinkoff has done this sport no favours at all, neither has Vink. Also, I’m not talking about drugs here – I’m talking about culture, attitude and cynical corruption.

  • Texas Roadhouse

    Good riddance to an unrepentant drug cheat