Danish cycling legend Bjarne Riis and his business partner, Lars Seier Christensen, have taken on title sponsorship of a third-tier UCI Continental team as part of their ongoing efforts to establish an elite WorldTour squad.
The Riis Seier Project will assume title sponsorship of Denmark’s Nor Pro Cycling. With immediate effect, the team will change names from Team Trefor to Team Virtu Pro – Veloconcept. The team will act as a development outfit for the future WorldTour squad.
The company behind Nor Pro Cycling, and the Riis Seier Project, has agreed on a deal promoting the fitness bike project VirtuPro – co-owned by Riis (pictured) and Christensen. Joining as a new co-title sponsor is Veloconcept, a Danish company closely linked to Jan Bech, an investor in Danish football club Brøndby IF.
As title sponsor, both Riis and Christensen plan to take part in the overall planning of the future strategy, however they will not take part in the daily management and operations of the team. They said in a joint statement: “The Riis Seier Project has great interest in assuring that Denmark continues to be a safe and thriving location for young cycling talents to develop.
“We are pleased to be supporting the Danish cycling scene with this initiative, and we consider it as an important element in our foundation of a future international cycling team. In this context it seems logical for us to sponsor this continental team.”
Riis and Christensen in February unveiled plans to form a new WorldTour team for the 2017 season as part of a wide-ranging project relating to the sport. Former Team Saxo-Tinkoff boss and 1996 Tour de France winner Riis has been out of the sport since exiting as team manager of Saxo-Tinkoff in March last year following a dispute with team owner Oleg Tinkov.
Christensen is the co-founder and former co-chief executive of Danish financial services group Saxo Bank, which formerly sponsored the team now known as Tinkoff Sport. Team Virtu Pro Veloconcept will appear in their new colours for the first time at the PostNord Tour of Denmark, starting on July 27.