Saxo Bank has today announced its withdrawal of sponsorship from the Danish professional cycling team that bears its name run by Bjarne Riis at the end of the 2010 season.

The online trading and investment specialist has decided that it is not seeing the expected business return on its sponsorship of the team.

“Our collaboration with Bjarne Riis, the riders and the rest of Team Saxo Bank has been fantastic, and we are really looking forward to supporting the team in 2010,” said Saxo Bank CEO and co-founder Lars Seier Christensen.

“We have enjoyed the journey that we have travelled with them. We recognise that the sponsorship has given us a great branding opportunity and increased our name recognition around the world.

“However, we also have to acknowledge that the sponsorship has not been ideal in reaching our narrow target group. We have to take this seriously and after 2010 we will use our marketing funds differently. It is our belief that a sponsor with a broader profile will achieve much more from sponsoring the cycling team.”

Riis’s team has suffered more than its fair share of sponsorship troubles in the past few years. In March 2008 title sponsor CSC stated that it would end its financial support of the team at the end of that year’s season.

Then in December 2008, team co-sponsor IT Factory declared itself bankrupt after its chief executive Stein Bagger was discovered to have embezzled 500 million kroner (£57 million) from the firm.

The Saxo Bank ProTour team is home to 2010 Tour de France hopeful Andy Schleck – second behind winner Alberto Contador in 2009 – and brother Frank Schleck. It also includes time trial multi-champion Fabian Cancellara.

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