Saxo Bank rider talking to other teams as Riis searches for sponsor
Jakob Fuglsang has added fresh doubt to his Saxo Bank future after confirming to Cyclingnews that he has spoken to a number of teams ahead of the 2011 season.
Fuglsang is at the end of his contract with Bjarne Riis' team with the team manager still searching for a new sponsor to replace Saxo Bank in 2011. The Danish prodigy has confirmed that while staying with Riis is an option he is in under no illusions that there are a number of other teams willing to sign him.
"I'm already looking. I'm talking to teams and I need to make up my mind. I don't think the Tour is going to make any difference on a contract for the coming years so I'd rather sign today, and if not today then tomorrow. I would like to have it done by the middle of June, at least before the Tour," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews.
Despite publicly opening himself to offers, Fuglsang is willing to give Riis some time, adding that staying with the squad would still be an option.
"The ideal situation would be for Bjarne to find a team but right now there isn't one. I'm happy here and if they go on I don't see why I would leave, but on the other hand there are other options.
"From what I heard from Bjarne it's looking good and he'll have something in a few weeks. I don't know how it's going lately but when we were in Belgium for the Classics I had a chat with him and he said it was looking good so hopefully he will come up with something soon. I have to consider other options though."
Fuglsang wasn't willing to discuss which teams have made offers for his services but did admit that he'd only talked to existing teams, damping speculation that the Schleck brothers have approached him for next season or that the rumours surrounding their possible plans to form a new squad have developed. "I've talked to some teams already and there are others that have shown interest but we've not talked yet. The teams I've talked to are all existing teams.
"If I stay with Fränk and Andy it will be for helping them in races. That's fine with me, as we have a really good relationship, but at the end of the day I need to think about myself and we'd still be friends even if we were riding on different teams."
Fuglsang was speaking prior to taking a flight to the US, where he will train with his teammates before the Amgen Tour of California. However, the trip was delayed at the last minute after his flight was cancelled due to the large ash cloud over mainland Europe. The Dane will travel out a day later.
"I went to the airport and didn't think there would be any problems. I turned up and thought, 'wow it's nice and quiet here' but I went in and found out everything was cancelled. I was walking around trying to find some help but no one was around so I'm stuck here for another day."
Fuglsang endured a hard start to his 2010 season. He was ruled out of racing at the start of the year through injury but showed during the Spring Classics that he was approaching his top form. Since then he has enjoyed a short break but California will be the beginning of a block of racing that will include the Tour de Suisse and his first crack at the Tour de France in July.
"I had a break after the Classics. The form isn't super but I took five days off the bike immediately after and I've not been doing any hard training, just riding the bike. The form wil not have disappeared in a week though."
Having never raced in the US before, Fuglsang is looking forward to the American adventure with the majority of Saxo Bank's Tour de France team taking part in the eight-day event.
"It's a long way to travel and maybe it's not the perfect preparation for the Tour but some things you have to do and I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a cool race and hopefully there won't be any stress.
"So far the season hasn't been like I wanted it to be. I had some troubles at the start of the year and only started to show some form in the last few races, but I had to work really hard for it because I didn't have the best winter. I was still missing some kilometres."
Fuglsang has been pigeon-holed as the Schlecks' last line of defence or attack during the Tour as they aim to topple Alberto Contador's quest for a third victory, and Fuglsang is under no illusions that despite any contract negotiations he'll need to peak come July.
"The most important thing for me is the Tour and I'm going to be ready. I'll be 100 per cent for that race. My role will be to support them as much as possible and to do that I need to be 100 per cent to make it difficult for Contador."
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