Riis celebrates Saxo Bank's double day
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Riis celebrates Saxo Bank's double day

by Samuel Morrison at 3:26 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
Contador and Nuyens bring in two wins for Danish team

Bjarne Riis has reason to smile, two of his top cyclists took wins today: Nick Nuyens in Belgium and Alberto Contador in Spain.

"This is one of the good days," Riis told Denmark's DR.

Nuyens win in Dwars door Vlaanderen was especially good news as it confirmed his return to the top and came ahead of Riis' former classics star, Fabian Cancellara. In fact, Nuyens finished ahead of many stars he will face for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Brit Geraint Thomas finished second and Tyler Farrar third; Leif Hoste, Björn Leukemans, Alessandro Ballan and Cancellara finished further back.

Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, Fränk and Andy, led an exodus from Saxo Bank to new team Leopard at the end of last season.

"I have not seen the race, so it really does not matter who we beat. To win a race, then you beat them all," added Riis.

"It is always difficult to win. I have seen that his [Nuyens'] form has been rising, and everything has been perfect with training camps and everything. Only a crash held him back for Milano-Sanremo."

Crashes and illness ruined Nuyens' season last year. At the end of the season, the Belgian signed a contract to leave Rabobank and join Saxo Bank. The team's owner thinks Nuyens in good standing for Flanders and Roubaix in the next three weeks time.

"I have no doubt," added Riis.

Three-time Tour de France star, Contador also won the queen stage of the Volta a Catalunya today. He became the new race leader and will have to defend the jersey until the race end on Sunday.

Contador must also keep an eye on his legal battles, though.

The Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) acquitted him of doping last month. He faced a likely two-year ban and loss of his third Tour de France title because he tested positive for Clenbuterol. The drug helps breathing and weight loss, Contador tested positive for it on the second rest day at the Tour de France.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is likely to appeal RFEC's decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Its deadline to do so is tomorrow.


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