Dane will balance support of Schlecks, own ambitions at Tour
Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) has elaborated on the contractual disagreements between himself and Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team that lead to him signing for Leopard Trek.
It was announced in the fall of 2009 that Fuglsang had signed a three-year contact with Riis's team. However, the press release was released prematurely with Fuglsang later claiming that no contract was ever signed.
"The press release was done in October or November of 2009 and it said that I had signed a contact but at that moment I hadn't," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews. "In the end I didn't agree and then of course I had to let other teams know and the press know that I hadn't signed for three years."
At the time that lead to several enquires from the likes of BMC, Sky, Garmin, RadioShack and Rabobank, but it was the invite from Leopard Trek that most attracted the Dane.
"One of the problems with Riis' contract was over the salary and the way it was paid over the three years. I had a strong belief in myself that with another year I could make a better contract and that's one of the reasons.
"I didn't see contracts from those other teams interested but salary was discussed. At the end of the day things moved fast with this team and they came up with a good offer for me and it was here that I wanted to go to the most. It was natural for me to want to sign."
Fuglsang's ties with his current team directeur were another reason for joining Leopard Trek and he informed Riis of his decision well before last year's Tour de France, which he rode in the service of Riis and the Schlecks.
According to the Dane, Riis began to spend less time at the head of affairs at Saxo Bank.
"It was the same in the two years I was there but what I heard from other riders he was not there as much as he was in the previous years. That's of course, also, why some of the riders changed but at the end of the day I had all my contact with Kim so it was natural that when he came here I would follow and I had that chance," Fuglsang said.
Tour de France priorities
Happier and seemingly fit ahead of the 2011 season, Fuglsang is enthusiastic about his year. Again his aim will be the Tour de France where he will shepherd the Schlecks through the mountains and aim to place as highly as possible on GC himself.
Having made no secret of his desire to one day have a crack at the yellow jersey himself, this year's Tour will test both the 25-year-old Dane's mental and physical mettle but also the Schlecks' allowance on having a third rider with GC aspirations.
However, with Andersen in the team car and the seemingly strong bond between himself and his riders, Fuglsang believes that there will be no treading on toes and that the ultimate goal of winning the Tour will never be sidestepped.
"We go to the Tour to win not to get second, fifth and 15th. It's all about the win so if it's needed that I must do the work I did last year then I will do it but if there's space for me to go for a good overall result then I will go for it."
Time trial Trek-ing
One area that Fuglsang has already been working on since moving teams is his time trialing. A new team means a new bike and switch from Specialized to rival company Trek. After some time in the wind tunnel the Dane believes that a new position and new bike will see him shave time off his performances.
"It's a really good bike and I really like it," Fuglsang said. "The guys from Trek, especially Ben Coates, have helped us out with really useful information. So far it looks like I would gain two minutes in a 40 kilometre time trial but that's all in theory because you would never be sitting on the bars in that position."
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