Riis trusts in Schleck brothers over team change rumours
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Riis trusts in Schleck brothers over team change rumours

by Conal Andrews at 8:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Following rumours that Andy and Frank Schleck were considering jumping ship to a new Luxembourg team, Team Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis has said that he has got guarantees from the duo that this is not the case.

“I hope that those people who say something to me are telling the truth,” he told TV2 Sport. “I have asked them directly and they say that they do not know about the issue. I must of course take that into account and believe it. Otherwise, what they are saying is untrue.”

The two brothers, world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara and directeur sportif Kim Andersen have all been rumoured to be set to move to a new team run by Marc Biver, the former Astana manager.

Biver confirmed to l’Equipe this weekend that he is working on a new project, and that he would be interested in having the brothers on board. He is rumoured to be in talks with a sponsor from their country.

"A Luxembourg cooperation would not be a bad idea," he said. "But I haven't asked anything inappropriate, and there has been no decision."

The Schlecks have said that they are concentrating on this season and that no decisions will be made soon.

Riis has struggled to find a new sponsor for his team, which has been running on a reduced budget ever since a co-sponsor, IT Factory, collapsed. The current chief backer Saxo Bank has indicated that it wants to cancel the remaining year of its deal, leaving the team without any major funding input.

Riis has been working hard to try to get new money into the squad, and is likely to be frustrated at the rumours that his big-name riders may be preparing to leave.

The three riders are amongst the biggest names in the sport. Andy Schleck finished second overall in last year’s Tour de France, while Frank is a former stage winner and yellow jersey in the race. Cancellara has taken three world time trial titles plus one Olympic gold medal, as well as Tour de France stages plus the Paris-Roubaix and Milan San Remo Classics. He also triumphed in the 2009 Tour de Suisse.


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