“Bjarne (Riis) and I have been talking about working together for years," Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard said Sunday. "It's a natural relationship based on parallel visions and values. Both Specialized and Team Saxo Bank are extremely driven and aim to be the best in our respective fields. Our cooperation will enable each of us to achieve more than ever before.”
Riis Cycling had been working with Cervélo since the 2003 season. His 2008 team won the Tour de France with 33-year-old Spaniard Carlos Sastre, while 23-year-old Andy Schleck won the best young rider's white jersey. Sastre has not commented on where he'll ride in 2009.
“I am really excited to start this new partnership, and I think that we can create great things together with Specialized," Riis said. "We have had a lot of different possibilities in terms of equipment for the coming years, including working together with our existing partners, but we have chosen to embark on a new project, and we are ready to take the next step with Specialized. There has been a clear mutual understanding and a good business fit between the two companies from day one, and I am convinced that it will become clear to everyone that these are two highly ambitious organizations that are going to collaborate closely in this deal.
"I chose Specialized based on our common vision, their excellent bikes and equipment, combined with their ability to develop future materials that will help us win," he added.
“For my team, the bikes and equipment must be perfect. During my visits to Specialized, I have met with the engineering team and ridden the materials personally. I am very impressed with Specialized bikes, equipment and the Specialized development process overall. I know we will push Specialized to constantly improve, and I know Specialized will make the materials that will help us win races,” Riis said.
Specialized continues as the bike, helmet and optics supplier to Team QuickStep and supplies multiple pro and development teams with helmets and optics. In 2009, over 100 top European pro riders will ride Specialized Body Geometry shoes. No word yet on which component group or wheelset Riis has chosen for Saxo Bank in 2009.