More departing riders confirmed for Saxo Bank SunGard and Christina Watches team
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More departing riders confirmed for Saxo Bank SunGard and Christina Watches team

by Shane Stokes at 12:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Rasmussen’s team to shed ten out of sixteen currently in lineup

Andre SteensenMuch as the end of the season is all about new signings, there are also a large number of riders moving on from each of the teams. Details have emerged of large cuts from Danish squads Saxo Bank SunGard and Christina Watches-Onfone, with the names being known of 13 riders not having their contracts renewed.

Several departures were previously known in relation to the Saxo Bank team, but the Danish media has now added three more names to that list. One of those left without a deal is André Steensen. Having clocked up the best result of his career recently, he has spoken of his disappointment to be dropped. His frustration increased by some solid performances of late. “I unfortunately have not had my contract renewed with Saxo Bank,” he told “Bjarne called me and told me that he wanted to try some new riders”

He had a quiet early season but then started to turn things around in August when he was twelfth overall in the Tour of Denmark, the team’s home race. He followed this up with seventh place on the Breckenridge stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, then went on to place eleventh overall in the Circuit Franco Belge and eighth in Gran Piemonte.

He had hoped that those results would secure him a new deal, but it is not the case. “Life does not end because I’m not riding at Saxo Bank,” he said.

Also joining the riders previously known to be leaving the team are Danish rider Brian Vandborg plus the Ukrainian Volodymir Gustov.

Meanwhile the Christina Watches-Onfone team has had a big clearout of the riders who formed part of the lineup in 2011, with ten out of the sixteen signed a year ago not having their contracts renewed.

The team has indicated that Guytan Lilholt, Jacob Gyde Madsen, Mads Hardal, Jesper Odgaard Nielsen, Daniel Malmros, Daniel Vestergaard Andersen, Mads Moltke Steen, Marc Hester, Pelle Clapp and Philip Nielsen are all departing. .

“After a very impressive season in which everyone on my team has made a huge effort, it is always sad that some go elsewhere by year-end, but unfortunately this is in the sports world,” stated team owner Christina Hembo in a press release.

That leaves just six of the current riders as being set to continue, namely co-owner and captain Michael Rasmussen, the sprinter Angelo Furlan, as well as Michael Reihs, Rene Jorgensen, Martin Lind and Kristian Sobota.

Three new signings have been announced, meaning that just nine of the riders for next season are known at this point in time. Those coming on board include the talented Danish rider Rasmus Guldhammer (Team Concordia), Leopard-Trek’s Martin Pedersen and the young rider Alexander Kamp.

More names are expected to be announced soon. Saxo Bank SunGard is also set to confirm its lineup, with Bjarne Riis implying last week that the team is pretty much complete. He said then that the budget was not there to be able to sign Juan Jose Cobo or Denis Menchov, who are both faced with uncertainty after their Geox-TMC team lost its main sponsor.


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