The stage one podium: Tomaz Nose (Adria Mobil), Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Mitja Mahoric
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Unsigned contract extension opens door for Dane in search for higher salary
Jacob Fuglsang, "one of the biggest talents in cycling" according to his current team manager Bjarne Riis, may be preparing to leave the Danish Saxo Bank team at the end of this season. Last October, the squad announced that it had reached an agreement with Fuglsang to extend his contract for three more years, but Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet revealed in March that this agreement was actually never signed.
"We were never fully in agreement and the press release announcing the contract was released too early due to a misunderstanding," said Fuglsang.
Team manager Riis confirmed this. "I have a contract with Jacob, but it is true that he has not signed it yet," he stated. "But I don't see what the big problem is. Generally, it's my belief that all riders on the team want to stay where they are."
Unfortunately for Riis, this may not be the case for Fuglsang. With other teams luring the 24-year-old and Riis' ongoing search for a new main sponsor as of 2011, the gifted stage race hopeful may opt to leave the Danish outfit if the right opportunity presents itself.
"I believe that I can get a better contract," Fuglsang told SPN.dk this week, revealing that the contract negotiations between him and Riis were not conclusive at this point, also because of the proposed salary. "I think in a sense that I am worth more. I know that several teams are interested in me."
Another reason the former mountain biker is unsure of wanting to commit further to Riis is the team's uncertain sponsorship situation. "I want to stay with Riis. But with the uncertainty that has arisen on the team's future, it is best to wait before I sign something," he said.
In the meantime, the double Tour of Denmark winner will continue to do his utmost for the squad, especially at the upcoming Classics and the Tour de France in July. "I see myself as an important piece of the team. This doesn't mean that I think I only have to win, but I can help in the Classics. I can help Fränk and Andy (Schleck) to win," he said.
After a difficult start to the season, where a knee injury set him back, Fuglsang now expects to be ready for the Ardennes Classics.
"And then I'll be 110 percent ready for the Tour," he added