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Danish squad seeks ProTeam status by 2016
Michael Rasmussen will be the leader of a new, Danish Continental team, Christina Watches. The new outfit, sponsored by jewelry designer Christina Hembo and kitchen manufacturer Designa Køkken, was officially presented on Thursday in Herning, Denmark.
The new team, of which only Rasmussen is known as being signed as a rider, came to life when Hembo bought Danish Continental Team Stenca Trading M1, effectively taking over their Continental license and logistics. They have long-term plans for the outfit to move up within team levels to become a ProTeam by 2016.
"We are running under the slogan 'everybody deserve a second chance' - and it will show in our rider signings. Michael Rasmussen is the sole captain of the team," said Claus Hembo, design director of the sponsor company.
In addition to his new role as a team captain, Rasmussen also has plans to support the squad beyond his active career. Should the team get access to the highest level of pro cycling and the Tour de France one day, the Dane would be ready to fill in a management role.
"Obviously I am well aware that in 2016 it's probably not going to be me that will ride the Tour de France. But I have a very clear goal of driving the car behind," said Rasmussen, who in six years will be 41 years old. But for now, he concentrates on getting back to competition.
"Plan A has always been Bjarne Riis and Saxo Bank-SunGard, but it did not work out. This is Plan B, but I don't think of Bjarne anymore, I focus on Christina Watches," he said.
Rasmussen served a two-year suspension for lying about his whereabouts before the 2007 Tour de France. When the ban ended in July 2009, he rode for the Mexican team Tecos-Trek, then for Miche-Silver Cross this year. Since July he has been racing for Christina Racing, supported by Hembo as a personal sponsor.