Directeur sportif Kim Andersen has left Team Saxo Bank to work on creating a new ProTour team for 2011 in Luxembourg that is set to be captained by Fränk and Andy Schleck.
There have been rumours that the Schleck brothers were keen to create their own team ever since Saxo Bank announced it would end it's sponsorship this year. So far team owner Bjarne Riis has failed to secure new backing for his team and is now set to lose his two Tour de France contenders.
The new Luxembourg team has the support of politicians and strategic businesses in Luxembourg. Cyclingnews understand that former Astana team manager Marc Biver is no longer involved in the creation of the team. However Brian Nygaard, the former press officer with Saxo Bank and until recently with Team Sky, is expected to become team manager.
On Sunday morning, Danish broadcaster TV2 Sport reported that Riis had fired Andersen. “That's not quite right and it's not entirely wrong,” Riis said, adding that Saxo Bank would release a statement later on Sunday.
However Andersen told the broadcaster in a telephone interview from Luxembourg that his contract with the team has been terminated. He confirmed the plans for the Luxembourg team.
“I do not see this as a firing. I've had some wonderful years and have learned a lot and had a good position. And it's a big leap to say farewell to the team but I've got a chance you only get once in life and I have to take it, " Andersen said.
“We have made an agreement to stop now. It is clear that in that I'm working on a new project, so it's hard to have time for much else. I fully understand Bjarne, and there are no bad feelings.”
“We will work on a new project here in Luxembourg. It's me and Brian Nygaard working on a ProTour team, but it is new and we have a lot to see, so when we have something more specific, we will report on it,” he said.