Sports News

Tour champion Contador joins Saxo Bank team

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has signed for Denmark’s Saxo Bank team on a two-year contract, team manager Bjarne Riis announced on Tuesday.

“I am proud and honored that I am able to introduce Alberto Contador to our team next year,” Riis told a news conference in the Danish capital. “It is an impossible opportunity that has occurred and that we are able to realize.”

“I am proud to be able to attract the world’s best to a Danish cycling team,” added Riis, himself a Tour de France winner in 1996.

Spaniard Contador announced last week he would not renew his contract with Kazakh-funded Astana who he joined in 2008.

Contador won his third Tour de France title on July 25, finishing the grueling three-week race 39 seconds ahead of Saxo Bank team leader Andy Schleck.

Luxembourg rider Schleck, also runner-up to Contador in 2009, and his brother Frank have said they will leave at the end of the season for a new team.

Saxo Bank will remain a co-sponsor of the team, which has also enrolled U.S. software group SunGard as a co-sponsor, Riis and the bank said on Tuesday.

The announcement reversed a January decision by Saxo Bank to drop its sponsorship of the cycling team at the end of 2010.

Instead Saxo Bank will be a co-title sponsor for another year along with SunGard which signed up as a sponsor during the Tour de France.

“The team will be called Saxo Bank-SunGard Professional Cycling Team,” Saxo Bank said in a statement.

“With these two companies committed to the team, we have a solid financial foundation for the future,” Riis said.

Writing by John Acher, editing by Justin Palmer