Bjarne Riis suffering from depression over doping allegations
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bjarne Riis suffering from depression over doping allegations

by Ben Atkins at 5:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Injury
Danish team manager under pressure since Tyler Hamilton’s 2012 book

bjarne riisBjarne Riis, the now-former owner of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, has been suffering from pressure and breakdowns for more than a year, which will be outlined in a documentary on Danish TV channel DR1, according to reports in the Scandinavian media. The 49-year-old former Tour de France winner has been under pressure since Tyler Hamilton alleged, in his book of September 2012, that Riis was the one that sent him to blood-doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Riis’ problems were added to by further allegations in Michael Rasmussen’s book last November that Riis knew all about his doping while on CSC-Tiscali.

The documentary, entitled Riis - Forfra [Riis - From the Front - ed] will be presented by journalist Niels Christian Jung, who reportedly had more access to the former rider than anyone in recent years.

“It's been some tough months. Very tough,” Riis says, according to Ekstra Bladet. “I’ve not been around much, and there are probably a lot of people who would have liked to have seen me in the media. But I have had to prioritised. I have given priority to myself. It was necessary that I took a little time for myself.

“At some point you are struck, and then it becomes just too much,” he explains. “A special day I could feel that now it went wrong. Now analysing it, I think that I have a lot of things in the baggage from my childhood, that I've never worked through.

“Many things that have come in recent years,” he adds. “When I came forward in 2007 – I went through the process. When my father died. The process. My mother died recently, and this is not something anyone knows. And so there have been entire Tyler story, with the pressure that has been from the press.”

Riis goes on to describe a two-month period where he was sitting at home in Switzerland. powerless to act on anything, due to the extent of his depression.

“Then came a period when it was not possible to make any decisions, and the whole thing slides. You can't concentrate, you can't do a lot really…” he explains. “At some point, there is no more space in your backpack, and so it has to be emptied.

“It's uncomfortable because you can not give anything. You can’t be there for anyone else – you can’t be there for yourself.”

Riis does feel that he’s recovering, which has been helped considerably by the selling of his team to Oleg Tinkov in December.

“Now I have to either get a grip on myself and this here, or I should just drop it,” he says. “The process I have going on seems to have started okay. I'm on the right track, but it takes time.”

Despite selling the team he took over in 2000, Riis is staying on with Tinkoff-Saxo as general manager for at least three years. Plans might change, however, if he is charged with any doping offences as a result of Hamilton’s or Rasmussen’s allegations.


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