Saxo Bank ends cycling deal a year early

No sponsorship after 2010 season

Bjarne Riis's successful cycling outfit will be on the lookout for a new title sponsor during 2010 after Saxo Bank decided to end their deal a year earlier than planned.

The bank has sponsored the team since 2008, when it competed under the name CSC-Saxo Bank. It took over as the main sponsor in January 2009 and changed the name to Team Saxo Bank.

"Saxo Bank ... announced today that it will no longer continue its sponsorship of the cycling team, Team Saxo Bank, after 2010," the bank said in a statement Friday.

Calling its collaboration with Riis and the rest of the team "fantastic," Saxo Bank said 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," it said.

A statement from Riis said: "We have already started the process of finding a new title sponsor for the coming years.

"We have one of the strongest teams in the world that includes some of our sport's biggest profiles. The experiences and challenges of the last two years have prepared our company for this challenge."

Saxo Bank's team has some of the sport's big names, such as Fabian Cancellara, 2009 Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and former Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady.

© AFP 2010

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