Bjarne Riis puts foot down: Richie Porte stays
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bjarne Riis puts foot down: Richie Porte stays

by Jered Gruber at 7:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
"It just goes too far here. He has a contract, and he will not get out of it."

Bjarne Riis is putting his foot down following the provocative actions of the manager of 2010 revelation, Richie Porte. Porte is unsurprisingly being wooed by new suitors, but for Riis, the frustration stems from a growing disregard for a contract - Porte still has another season on his two-year deal.

The loss of Fabian Cancellara must have been a frustrating experience, and it seems that Riis is not keen on enjoying the feeling again, and his recent comments with display that feeling in all its raw form.

"It just goes too far here. He has a contract, and he will not get out of it. He will not be allowed to go. It is as simple as that, and he knows that too. I cannot understand why he continues [like this]."

Riis is frustrated with his young talent, Porte, but even more with the man responsible for his interests, his manager.

"Richie's manager continues to provoke and push us. We have told them that it cannot be changed. He cannot be bought out of his contract. Yet they continue. It's fair enough - a manager asks, but when he's told no, it must stop. He threatens lawyers and everything at us, but the rules are such that you do not come out of a contract unless both parties agree: rider, current team, and new team."

The growing trend of disregarding contracts has not been lost on the former Tour de France winner and manager of the 2011 SunGard/Saxo Bank team.

"It's a huge problem in the sport, and this year it has gone berserk. The agents are running around and shop with all sorts or teams, and it's not just us who have these problems. It must stop now, it's unacceptable. The agents bring ideas into the minds of young riders by putting figures in their minds that are completely unrealistic."

The comparisons with football are hard to avoid at this point, and as cycling moves upward, it appears that the problems of an improving sport come with it. It's not wrong for a rider and his manager to look beyond his current enclosure, but Riis is firm in his belief that a contract is a contract - it means something.

"The problem is that their managers and agents are pushing the limits and are advising their riders wrong. Contracts must be respected."

It will be interesting to see what the super talent, Richie Porte, has to say in the coming days, but it seems clear that there's one place he won't be going - anywhere else but SunGard.


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