Riis rules out signing Cobo and Menchov to Saxo Bank, implies team is full
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Riis rules out signing Cobo and Menchov to Saxo Bank, implies team is full

by VeloNation Press at 10:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Danish owner says budget isn’t there to bring more high-profile riders on board

Bjarne RiisAlthough Alberto Contador has said that he wants Bjarne Riis to sign a climber to back him up in 2012, speculation that either Denis Menchov or Juan José Cobo could come on board has been dismissed by the Dane himself.

Both Menchov and Cobo were plunged into a tough situation yesterday when the management of their Geox-TMC team said that the main sponsor had refused to pay the bank guarantee due to be paid by the team for its 2012 registration. The Geox company later issued a press release saying that it was walking away from cycling, despite what was though to be a contract of up to five years.

If the team can’t find an alternative backer in time, it will be forced to stop and riders such as Menchov and Cobo will be thrust out on the market. Riis denies they will find a place on his team. “People may also want to think for a moment. I have a budget for 2012, with which I must comply,” he told Sporten.dk. “And that means there is not just 500,000, 1 million or even 2 million in excess, so I could go out and do something now where the market is closed. It's not going to happen.”

Despite Contador’s wish for another rider who is strong in the mountains, Riis appears to rule out more signings. “We are in place, I think,” he said, referring to the line-up. “And in my eyes we are just as strong as we were in 2011. I am very satisfied with what we have to work with. Of course I have been following riders that I could not get hold of, but I am largely happy with my team.”

The Saxo Bank SunGard team was stretched very thin this season in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. It was able to support Contador in the former, but several of those who raced in Italy also did the Tour and were left exhausted. Contador himself suffered due to the double, and has said that the only way he thinks it might be possible to win both events is if he had strong support in each race.

Riis concedes that the strength in depth is not there, and that he simply has to get on with what he has. “I do not have a team like BMC, where you can put two almost equally strong teams for the Giro and Tour,” he said. He added that the team was based around Contador, and that it would focus completely on the Tour de France with him.


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