Saxo Bank to stay with Riis even if Contador is banned

Paris: Saxo Bank promised on Sunday to stay on as title sponsors of Bjarne Riis`s cycling team even if three-times Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is banned after failing a dope test.

Saxo Bank, who had been due to leave Riis`s outfit at the end of the season, decided to extend their sponsorship after Contador announced he was joining the team next season from Astana.

The Spaniard, however, failed a test for a small quantity of the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol during July`s Tour de France and could face a ban from the sport if the International Cycling Union (UCI) decide he took the substance intentionally.

Contador has denied doping and blamed the positive test on contaminated meat.

"Saxo announced that the bank will continue as title sponsor for Riis Cycling A/S whether Alberto Contador will be on the team in 2011 or not," the bank said in a statement.

Dane Riis, who won the Tour in 1996 before admitting in 2007 that he had been involved in doping, welcomed the decision.

"I am truly happy and grateful to know that Saxo Bank sees the value in continuing their support of our team even before the adjudication," he said in a statement.

Bureau Report