A happy CSC team manager Bjarne Riis was able to announce today that his star rider, Ivan Basso, and his main sponsor, CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), have extended their contracts with him until 2009. CSC Global, based in El Segundo, California, has been reveiwing a four year deal with Riis Cycling to step up the level of sponsorship of the team, which includes signing Ivan Basso to a major 2 million a year contract that will keep the talented Italian under CSC colours for the next four years.
"Both personally and on behalf of the team I am very happy that the sponsorship agreement has now been finalized," said Riis. "Our partnership with CSC gives us the perfect foundation to create the absolute best team in the world. Now we have the right perspective for the future, and this gives us unique possibilities to develop in the right direction. We have come far in the last couple of seasons, and no one should have any doubts, that our ambitions are sky high!"
In recent months, Riis has been playing a Svengali role to Basso, firing his preparatore Luigi Cecchini and personally taking over Basso's training. "Ivan has not only lived up to our expectations, he has impressed me time after time with his will to improve and take responsibility for himself and his team. He has developed enormously. From being a talent and someone who constantly made the top 10 in many of the big races, he is now the future of cycling for the next couple of years. Ivan has never made a secret of the fact that he likes being on our team, and that means a lot to us all. With us he has the full support and a team, where he fits in well as a person. In Ivan we have a rider, who can one day win the Tour de France."
Ivan Basso, who has been courted by Johan Bruyneel, said that he was happy to stay with Riis. "Right from the start Team CSC has been the perfect team for me. Here I've found the best conditions to evolve both as a rider and as a person. I have a perfect relationship with Bjarne, and he deserves most of the credit for me having achieved, what I have during the last two seasons. The team provides me with the perfect support and here I feel like I'm a part of a family. I'm happy, that this is where I can show my full potential and aim for the big goals."