Bjarne Riis: It's not real looking to consider that a new sponsor will magically seem
Bjarne Riis is not optimistic about the future of NTT Pro Cycling after a sponsorship search failed. Nada. Post Code. Zilch.
"As it is now," he was quoted in the Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet, "there won't be a team next year in which I'm the manager." That's the way it is. We don't have a sponsor right now and it's getting late. Things don't look good. "
Bjarne Riis and his business partner Lars Seier tried to get back to WorldTour level after the end of the Tinkoff team in 2016. They tried a women's team called Virtu Cycling but had to invest too much of their own money to make it work. The team ended in 2019.
“I'm glad a lot of people would like to see me lead a team and I would love to see a Danish team on the WorldTour, but I can't afford it and I don't understand why people expect Lars for everything pays because he is who he is. It doesn't make sense and has never been discussed. "
In 2020 it was announced that Seier and Riis would buy a stake in NTT Procycling. He joined the South African team in January of that year as General Manager, but the purchase of a stake in the team was never carried out. The global pandemic complicated things, and NTT's withdrawal as the team's main sponsor also did not contribute to a successful outcome.
"It's not realistic to believe that a new sponsor will magically appear now. It's a shame because cycling offers tremendous sponsorship potential for much less investment than Formula 1 or football. There has been a lot of interest from Danish companies, especially now that they are the 2022 Tour de France begins in Denmark, but they didn't take that last step. Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic plays a role, "explained Riis.
Doug Ryder, owner of NTT Pro Cycling, told his riders in late September that they could look for new teams after NTT failed to renew their sponsorship deal. Just ten days ago, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that there were positive signs that the team would find a new main sponsor.
So far, only Ryan Gibbons (UAE Emirates), Ben O & # 39; Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) and Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) have announced new teams. Michael Valgren is rumored to be joining EF-Education First.
Max Walscheid, Dylan Sunderland, Andreas Stokbro, Matteo Sobrero, Domenico Pozzovivo, Michael Gogl, Victor Campenaerts and Samuele Battistella have contracts with the team for 2021.