Jalabert: Riis will prevail regardless of Contador case
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jalabert: Riis will prevail regardless of Contador case

by Samuel Morrison at 7:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
French coach admits Riis is in a difficult situation due to Contador's doping investigation

Laurent Jalabert lent support to his former boss, Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis, yesterday. Jalabert, now the French national coach, believes Riis will overcome Alberto Contador's doping investigation.
"I am not particularly worried about Bjarne, he always rises to the top," Jalabert told Denmark's DR. "He has always been able to gather good riders, those who may not have been so well known, but which has been known on his team, such as [Jakob] Fuglsang and [Matti] Breschel. He found them and developed them to a high level on his team."
Jalabert was in Copenhagen yesterday to inspect the World Championships course. He will direct team France on September 25.
He ended his racing carrier eight years ago with Riis' CSC team. At CSC, in 2001 and 2002, he won the Clásica San Sebastián twice and at the Tour de France, two stages and the mountains polka dot jersey twice.
Riis' current team, though, has its problems. The Dane hired three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador in August, but a month later it was revealed he tested positive for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France in July.  Spaniard Contador is currently being investigated by his national federation and faces a possible two-year ban. He maintains his innocence, saying the drug came from eating a contaminated steak, but it does not make the situation any easier for Riis.
"The situation could not be worse, right at the start of the season," added Jalabert. "I could imagine that Bjarne is concerned about a very difficult situation, where it is difficult to see how it will end."
Riis directed Andy Schleck to second place at the last two editions of the Tour de France. Schleck will ride for a new team based in his home country of Luxembourg next year. Seven other riders from Riis' Saxo bank team will join Schleck, including his brother Fränk and Fabian Cancellara.
"But Contador has arrived with the riders, who are willing to work for him," said Jalabert. "And I think if Contador ends up racing the Tour de France next year, Schleck will have difficulties beating him. If he is suspended, though, it is over."

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