Russian entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov has agreed a takeover deal for leading UCI World Tour team Riis Cycling.
The agreement means Tinkov is now the sole owner of Riis Cycling, the company behind the professional cycling team, with its name now being changed to Tinkoff Sport A/S. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Cycling News website said Tinkov has paid about €6m ($8.16m) to acquire the outfit from team owner Bjarne Riis.
Tinkoff Credit Systems, the only Russian bank specialising in credit cards, has agreed to be the main title sponsor of the team over the next three years, from 2014 to 2016.
Saxo Bank, the Danish trading and investment specialist, will continue its sponsorship of the team in 2014, but will revert to secondary partner status meaning that the team will now be known as Tinkoff-Saxo.
Riis has agreed a three-year deal to become the team manager.
Tinkov, said: “With this agreement I believe Tinkoff Sport have secured the best possible foundation and setup to reach our goal of becoming the greatest cycling team in the world over the course of the coming three years. This is going to be a big investment for Tinkoff Sport, but I have no doubt it will be great value for money.”
Riis added: “After careful consideration, I have decided to sell Riis Cycling as I believe this is the right thing to do for both the team and for me on a personal level. With this deal the long term stability of the team is secured, and the team now has the funding and foundation to continue to be a major player on the World Tour and to further raise our ambitions.
“Secondly I can focus on running the team's sporting department, giving much more attention to the actual racing itself and the training of our riders. I believe that today we have created a fantastic setup that enables us in the most optimal way to fulfil our ambitions in the future.”
Tinkoff-Saxo’s star rider is former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.