Bjarne Riis will announce tomorrow his team’s new title sponsor and the arrival of Alberto Contador for 2011, if recent reports hold true. The Danish team manager of Saxo Bank early this morning called for a press conference tomorrow at 11:00 in Copenhagen.
With Andy and Frank Schleck set to leave the team, Riis lacks a Grand Tour contender and has yet to announce next year’s title sponsor.
Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has the answers for Bjarne Riis. Last week, he announced that he is leaving his current Astana team at the end of the year.
Specialized bicycles will follow Contador to his new team as last year it signed a two-year personal sponsorship deal with him. After they made the deal, Specialized took over as bicycle sponsor for Astana.
American Mike Sinyard’s company is already the bicycle sponsor for Riis’ team and may step into the title sponsor role.
Riis announced on the first rest day in Morzine, July 12, he had found a new title sponsor to replace Saxo Bank and join with co-sponsor SunGard.
“I cannot announce the name [of the title sponsor] right now, because of the business strategy of this company,” said Riis in Morzine. “It has to be done later. That’s the agreement we have with them.”
On the same day in Morzine, Andy Schleck remained tight-lipped about his and brother Fränk’s future. He said that he was happy in the team, but last Friday, he announced to French newspaper L’Equipe that he and his brother would leave Riis.
The two are bound for the new team based in Luxembourg and run by Riis’ former press officer, Dane Brian Nygaard.
Nygaard signed on as Sky’s press officer for this year, but left the British team abruptly prior to the Tour de France. Dane Kim Andersen also left his role as sports director with Saxo Bank around the same time. He and Riis fell out when Riis discovered he was planning to join Nygaard’s team as sports director.
Nygaard told Cycling Weekly on Sunday it was too early to give details about the sponsor, but part of his team’s money is coming from Luxembourger Flavio Becca. Becca is a real estate investor, who first met with Nygaard in Kortrijk, Belgium, around the time of the Tour of Flanders in early April.
Riis tomorrow will win the first of what will be many battles with his former press officer. He will be the first of the two Danes to announce a title sponsor – and possibly a Grand Tour contender in the name of Alberto Contador.