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Riis willing to sign riders to keep Saxo Bank in WorldTour

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 19, 2012, 11:44 BST,
Updated:
April 19, 2012, 12:40 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, April 19, 2012
Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia

Smile if you want to go faster: Bjarne Riis made the trip to Australia

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Danish team sitting bottom of WorldTour rankings

Team Saxo Bank is already struggling with gaining points this season to ensure its WorldTour licence for 2013. Team owner Bjarne Riis is still convinced that the riders will do well enough on the road to ensure the team's continuation in the top ranks, but he has not ruled out the possibility of buying riders with the necessary points.

The Danish team did not gain any points in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne, where Nicki Sorensen was the best finisher as 33rd. Saxo Bank is last in the UCI's WorldTour team rankings, with only 32 points.

“I don't see why we shouldn't be able to get enough points for the coming year,” Riis told Ekstrabladet.dk.

But if that doesn't work, then he acknowledged another possibility. “If we don't have enough, we will have to go buy riders who have points. Those are the conditions.”

Riis' main difficulty is the Alberto Contador case. With Contador's two-year backdated doping suspension, the team lost more than two-thirds of the points with which it obtained this year's licence.

Contador is expected to return to Saxo Bank in August when his ban is over, but under UCI rules, any points he gains over the next two years would not count for the team. Riis has indicated he is willing to challenge those UCI rules.

“It's a tricky case, because there are many other rules to be observed. It's more complicated than that,” he said. “I'm getting tired of it, but it is evidently a part of the game. Right now though we ride our races and that is where we try to keep our focus.”

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