Riis admits that Fuglsang’s new contract remains unsigned
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Riis admits that Fuglsang’s new contract remains unsigned

by Ben Atkins at 2:24 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Despite his announcement in the autumn, amid much fanfare, that Jacob Fuglsang had extended his contract with the Saxo Bank team by three years, Bjarne Riis has now admitted that paperwork was not actually signed. The 24-year-old has ridden for Team Saxo Bank since September 2008, when he signed as a trainee after having won the Tour of Denmark with Continental team Designa Køkken.

“I have a contract with Jacob, but it is true that he has not signed it yet,” said Riis to Ekstra Bladet. “But I don’t see what the big problem is. Generally, it’s my belief that all riders on the team want to stay where they are. That's what I'm working from.”

The contract was drawn up at a time when the Saxo Bank team announced that the main sponsor was withdrawing and it needed to find a new one at the end of this year. This uncertainty caused Fuglsang, who is regarded as Denmark’s best hope for a future Tour de France victory, to rethink his immediate future and delay the decision to commit himself to the team.

“We were never fully in agreement and the press release announcing the contract was released too early due to a misunderstanding,” said Fuglsang. “Now we’ve completely set contract talks on hold.”

“I want to stay with Riis,” he continued, concurring with his team manager’s assessment, “but with the uncertainty that has arisen on the team's future, it is best to wait before I sign something.”

Had Fuglsang committed himself to Riis’ team for 2011 and beyond and a new sponsor could not be found, Fuglsang’s fear was that he would have to wait until he is officially freed by the UCI. The deadline for providing the UCI with a bank guarantee for riders’ salaries is in October, if this cannot be provided then the riders are officially released from their contracts.

“Had I signed back then,” he explained, “I could risk not being free until October if Bjarne can’t find a sponsor. I want some money out of a new contract, [October] is rather late to begin to negotiate.”

Until the paperwork is actually signed, the Dane is free to negotiate with other teams.


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