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Cycling Tinkoff-Saxo reject shut down claims

Tinkoff-Saxo downplayed owner Oleg Tinkov's claim that they might shut down due to a lack of funds caused by economic sanctions on Russia.

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Tinkov argued in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday that the sanctions imposed on his homeland by the United States, European Union and other countries could force him to wind up Tinkoff-Saxo, but the team's CEO Stefano Feltrin insisted they are ready for the 2015 season.

In a statement on Tinkoff-Saxo's website, Feltrin was bullish about the joint Russian-Danish team's future, which is one of the powerhouses of professional road cycling led by team director Bjarne Riis, plus riders Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan.

"The effects of the financial crisis are still being felt throughout the world and the professional sports business isn't immune," Feltrin said.

"However, Tinkoff-Saxo is as solid as ever and we look forward to the start of the 2015 season, thanks to the strong support of all ours sponsors, partners and suppliers.

"Their continued trust in us is a proof of the commercial value they see for their brands from associating with one of the most famous cycling teams in the world. I would like to thank them for that and I am sure we will strive to provide even more value in 2015 and 2016.

"Every single member of Tinkoff-Saxo is ready and eager for the 2015 season."

Feltrin added that the recruitment of Sagan, Ivan Basso, Roberto Kiserlovski and Pavel Brutt sets the team up for a very successful year.

"With the addition of big-name riders in our roster, I'm sure the following years will be exciting for Tinkoff-Saxo and the sport of cycling," he said.

While Sagan is the most exciting prospect of Tinkoff-Saxo's new recruits, Basso - a two-time Giro d'Italia general classification (GC) champion - is aiming to play a critical part in helping Contador win both Italy's grand tour and the Tour de France next year.

At 37, Basso could have been expected to retire but the Italian is looking forward to playing a different role in his later years as a domestique (support rider).

"I don't have to change my mentality too much," the former GC contender told Cyclingnews.

"If I want to help Alberto [Contador] I need to be in the front of the races when there are not many people there.

"That's not changed and to help him I need to be a super, super domestique on the race and off the race but I need to be [a] super team leader for all the young riders as well."

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