Yet another Dane leaves, while two extend at Saxo Bank
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yet another Dane leaves, while two extend at Saxo Bank

by Jered Gruber at 1:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Danish team has now lost three home riders, but keeps Klostergaard and Steensen

Bjarne Riis has repeatedly noted his intention of keeping a strong Danish flavor in his Saxo Bank/SunGard team in 2011, despite the influx of Spanish talent. It looks like he's having a difficult time though, as yet another Dane has left the team bringing the total to four now. In recent days, Matti Breschel signed for Rabobank, while Jakob Fuglsang is leaving for an as yet undisclosed destination, but it looks likely he'll be headed for the Luxembourg team. Now, the latest Dane looking for greener pastures is young climbing prospect, Anders Lund. The 25 year old spent four years with Saxo Bank, but is looking for new opportunities in 2011 - it looks likely that he'll be headed to Luxembourg, just like the rest of the Saxo Bank team it seems.

While the loss of the three riders will weigh heavily on Riis, the former Tour de France winner did manage to keep two other Danish talents in the fold, Kasper Klostergaard and Andre Steensen. The first, Klostergaard, will be one small bit of good news for Fabian Cancellara, as the rider has showed great promise in the classics - from Milan-Sanremo, to Flanders, to Roubaix.

Klostergaard is pleased to remain a part of the team that gave him his start: "I'm really excited to stay with the team for two more years. It will be interesting to be a part of a process that could lead to a different race schedule for me. Naturally, I hope to be a part of the Classics squad, and of course, I hope to ride great."

The still only 22 year old Andre Steensen was recently a factor in the finale of the Clasica San Sebastian and will be a welcome retention for the climbing corps. The Dane can also count a top five stage result at this year's Tour of California to his still budding palmares.

Steensen remarks, "I'm really happy to stay another year in this fantastic team. The management is visionary and their expertise allows me to further develop."

His excitement to be in the team is evident, and he admits to feeling at home in the team. It will be interesting to see how the feel of the team changes with the huge turnover in talent heading into the new season.

"In addition, I am at home here, and the friendship that exists between the riders is unique."

The overall tone seems to be one of loss, though. Sure, keeping Klostergaard and Steensen was critical, but the tally of Danish loss in the team now stands at three, of which two will be critical losses, and one, Lund, could prove to be a big loss in 2011, if his development continues as hoped.

One rider that certainly won't be disappointed at the Danish exits from Saxo Bank? Michael Rasmussen.


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