Riis reaffirms that Contador will stay with Team Saxo Tinkoff
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Monday, September 09, 2013

Riis reaffirms that Contador will stay with Team Saxo Tinkoff

by Shane Stokes at 12:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
“He doesn’t want to leave”

alberto contadorFour days after Bjarne Riis played down the suggestions that Alberto Contador could leave Team Saxo Tinkoff and instead compete next year for the new team being set up by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, he has said that the Spaniard has indicated that he will stay.

Riis spoke prior to today’s start of stage sixteen of the Vuelta a España and made clear that his top rider would remain in place.

“He’ll stay with us next year. He’s got a contract and he doesn’t want to leave,” he said.

Suggestions that the two time Tour de France winner might leave cropped up after September 2nd news that Alonso was in the process of buying Euskaltel Euskadi’s WorldTour licence. He has long said that he wants to set up a team around Contador, a friend of his, and now seems in a position to offer him a place.

However Contador has a contract with Saxo Tinkoff that runs until the end of 2015.

Riis told VeloNation last week that rumours of a breakdown of communications between them was wrong. “My relationship with Alberto is absolutely fine, and I can only say my feeling is that it is mutual. I have great respect for Alberto as a rider and as a person, and I still have a lot of confidence in him,” he said.

The team is under financial pressure as the current second sponsor, Tinkov Bank, won’t remain on board next year. Riis has been searching for a new backer since July but, thus far, has not finalised anything.

“At the moment we are still exploring some different options in order to secure the team going forward. I do feel there is reason to be optimistic, even though we haven't been able to present an additional sponsor yet,” he told VeloNation last week.

“We have to remember it isn't a long time ago we announced we are in the market, and this process takes time.”

Contador competed in yesterday’s GP Fourmies and will do a number of one day races before the end of the year, including the world road race championships. He wasn’t at his best form in the Tour de France, finishing fourth, but Riis believes he’s coming into shape.

“I’m confident he’s going to have a good end of the season,” he stated. “His goals are the world championship and Il Lombardia but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the front in the two Canadian races this week.”

Contador will ride the GP Cycliste de Québec on Friday and the GP Cycliste de Montéal two days later.

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