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Tinkoff Credit Systems secure main sponsorship of cycling team

Russian banking group Tinkoff Credit Systems will become the main title sponsor of Riis Cycling after founder Oleg Tinkov agreed a takeover deal for the leading UCI World Tour team.

Russian entrepreneur Tinkov is now the sole owner of Riis Cycling, the company behind the professional cycling team, with its name 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.

Under the agreement, Tinkoff Credit Systems, the only Russian bank specialising in credit cards, will become 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.

In October, Saxo Bank confirmed an extension to its title sponsorship of Riis Cycling for 2014, securing the future of the team for another year.

Saxo Bank made the move following Tinkoff Credit Systems’ initial withdrawal as co-naming rights partner at the end of July – a decision that had thrown Riis Cycling’s immediate future into doubt.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s star rider is former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.