Bonde: Saxo Bank's loss, Denmark's gain
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bonde: Saxo Bank's loss, Denmark's gain

by Samuel Morrison at 5:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riis loses top three Danes, but Danish cycling expanding, says national coach

Denmark's Saxo Bank will lose three of its top home riders at the end of the season, but, according to national coach Lars Bonde, it is a positive signal.

"This means that we have been able to get the Danes in some other teams and it also shows that there is great demand for them. It would be a cop-out if they were only at Saxo Bank because they were Danes," Bonde told TV2.

"We can say that this shows that they are cherished. It is a quality mark, and it is healthy, the cards are shuffled a little sometimes."

Dane Bjarne Riis has managed his country's top team since 1999. He has finished second at the Tour de France in the last two years with Luxembourg's Andy Schleck and won the race in 2008 with Spain's Carlos Sastre. Sastre transferred to Cervélo TestTeam immediately after his win and Schleck will join a team in his home country next year, managed by Dane Brian Nygaard.

Three of Riis' 11 Danish riders will ride for rival teams next year: Matti Breschel to Rabobank, Jakob Fuglsang likely to accompany Schleck and Anders Lund is undecided.

"It will certainly make a difference if they are allowed to go out and lead in more and more races. It's a positive turn of events, they have more pressure on them, but they become better and better, and also pulled into the bigger races," continued Bonde.

"I think it is a good development in general, riders are spread around. Especially, when we now have a situation where there still is a Danish team that looks for the Danish riders and a team in Luxembourg run by two Danes [Nygaard and Kim Andersen - ed.] – it's actually real luxury. We are close to the optimal situation seen in my eyes."

Fuglsang and Breschel dominated their home tour earlier this month: Fuglsang won the overall and Breschel a stage. Outside of Denmark, Breschel won the Dwars door Vlaanderen and helped team-mate Fabian Cancellara win the Tour of Flanders.

"It is sad because I have been really happy to ride here and have learnt a lot of things," said Lund. "It's as if I was unhappy with anything, but I am just looking forward to the new challenge."

Lund will ride the Vuelta a España in support of Andy Schleck and brother Fränk.

Top Danes, according to CQ Ranking (21/08/2010)
1 Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) 703
2 Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) 691
3 Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank) 556
4 Lars Bak (HTC-Columbia) 410
5 Alex Rasmussen (Saxo Bank) 229
6 Martin Mortensen (Vacansoleil) 178
7 Nicki Sørensen (Saxo Bank) 169
8 Brian Vandborg (Liquigas-Doimo) 150
9 Michael Rasmussen (Miche) 130
10 Michael Morkov Christensen (Saxo Bank) 126
11 Anders Lund (Saxo Bank) 121
12 Rasmus Guldhammer (HTC-Columbia) 101
13 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Saxo Bank) 100

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