Arvesen weighing up options as Saxo Bank contract ends

Norwegian scheduled to return at Tour of Ireland

Saxo Bank's Kurt Asle Arvesen says he has received offers from a number of teams, including another ProTour squad. The Norwegian's contract with Saxo Bank is due to expire at the end of the current season.

"A ProTour-team has made a specific request, but several have expressed interest," Arvesen told Scandinavian television channel TV2.

Arvesen did not reveal the names of the teams who have approached him, but said he hadn't received an offer from new squad, RadioShack. Arvesen also said that he would be happy to extend his contract with Saxo Bank, who have presented him with a new contract offer.

"We will see what happens. I would like to be, but we haven't agreed yet. I hope it is a formality, but some things need time," he said. "I have received an offer from another team, but will be happy to continue at Saxo Bank."

Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis would not be drawn on the progress of the contract negotiations, but did express his desire to keep Arvesen within his team.

"We want to stretch ourselves as far as we can. But this is not something I want to say anything more about, it's between me and Kurt Asle," Riis told TV2. "There is no doubt that Kurt has been an important piece of the team. He is a person and a rider who I like a lot. He is not only a good bike rider, but also a great guy."

Arvesen has been named in the Saxo Bank squad for this month's Tour of Ireland. It will be his first major race since he was forced to abandon last month's Tour de France with a broken collarbone.

Australian Stuart O’Grady has been announced as leader of the team for the three-stage race that begins in two weeks. O'Grady and Arvesen will be joined by Jakob Fuglsang, Jonathan Bellis, Karsten Kroon, Alexander Kolobnev and Matti Breschel.

The team has enjoyed success at the Tour of Ireland. In 2007 Breschel won stage two of the race and Marcus Ljungqvist finished second overall.

Both Breschel and Saxo Bank showed at last week's Tour of Denmark that they are in strong form. Breschel and Fuglsang claimed two of the team's three stage wins. Fuglsang also won his second successive general classification title at the five-stage race.

Saxo Bank are one of four ProTour teams scheduled to start this year's Tour of Ireland. Astana, Columbia-HTC and Rabobank will join Saxo Bank and 13 other squads when the race begins on August 21.

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