Now it's out: Google will not join Bjarne Riis, but his previous co-sponsor Oleg Tinkov will take over the team. Various rumors about the continued existence of the team had been circulating over the weekend. [Link] It was assumed, among other things, that the search engine giant Google would enter cycling as a sponsor, especially since today's Riis Cycling press conference took place in the company's European office. But there was also talk of the Russian magnate taking over the WorldTour license. This rumor has now been confirmed.
"This is a big investment for me, but I have no doubt it will pay off."
From now on, Riis Cycling, established in 2001 by former Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis and previously behind Team Saxo-Tinkoff, will continue as Tinkoff Sport A/S. As a result, the team in the coming year as Tinkoff Saxo to start. Tinkov has also agreed to financially support the team for at least three years through his company Tinkoff Credit Systems. The controversial Dane Riis will act as team manager during this time.
“Following our latest negotiations, Bjarne [Riis] and I have agreed to sell the team. We also received the support of Saxo Bank for this”, said a delighted Tinkov in London. "This is a big investment for me, but I have no doubt it will pay off."
Riis himself also commented on the matter: “After much deliberation, I have made the decision to sell Riis Cycling and I think that decision was the right one. The team can now plan for the long term and I can concentrate on the team’s sporting needs.”
This also seems to put an end to the quarrel that Tinkov made with his comments on the performance of the Spanish team captain Alberto Contador in the Tour de France. However, he now seems to be under even more pressure. However, he has already confirmed that he wants to fulfill his contract, which runs until 2015.
The entire press conference in retrospect is available in the following video.