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Team manager Bjarne Riis
Team Manager Bjarne Riis said he couldn't be happier with his Team CSC's performance in 2007, its...
Team Manager Bjarne Riis said he couldn't be happier with his Team CSC's performance in 2007, its seventh season. The team, which finished first in the UCI ProTour rankings for the third consecutive year, collected wins in the Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Germany and the World Time Trial Championship and second places at the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España. They also spent a week in yellow at the Tour de France.
"I think we can be very satisfied. We reached our goals and won a lot of races," said Riis to team-csc.com. "We were strong in races from January to October. That's something that should characterize the best team in the world."
When asked which result stood out most, Riis said, "I think the podium in the Giro was something really special. We didn't expect it. We thought maybe Andy [Schleck] could be in the top 10 or fight for the best young rider. What he did was something really special and it proves that he really is the guy for the future. He is the man we can count on for the next few years and he's someone we can build the team around."
Riis said that winning a Grand Tour is the team's ultimate goal. "That's what everyone is working for. Its possible. It's realistic. We will keep working. We have the team and the riders to do it, I am sure of that."
The team will hold a week or 10-day training camp in Norway prior to the 2008 season and another in California in February around the time of the Tour of California. Riis named the monuments and the Grand Tours as top priorities. Riis lamented the lack of a prologue and team time trial for the Tour de France, but was still optimistic about the team's chances. Riis said he didn't know whether the Schleck brothers would be there.
"We haven't decided if Andy will go to the Tour. Maybe he'll defend and go for the Giro victory instead. There are good reasons to take him to the Tour and good reasons to take him to the Giro. Maybe it's an emotional decision. There's no doubt he's ready for the Tour. We'll see. He's still young and he has a lot to improve and to learn. He has the physical skills to be a man for the future. His brother, too, Fränk, still has a lot of potential at the Tour.