After the newest allegations against Bjarne Riis by Michael Rasmussen that Riis knew about the doping practices of his riders, Saxo Bank boss Lars Seier will continue to back his Danish team manager.
“We have been sponsoring the Saxo team for six seasons [since 2008] without any problems. Rasmussen’s allegations are untrustworthy I still have full confidence in Bjarne,” he told Sporten.dk
Michael Rasmussen’s tell-all book comes out next week but the Danish media have published excerpts of it. The former Danish yellow jersey wearer points fingers at several riders like Nicki Sørensen, who he says buried drugs in his backyard, and Ryder Hesjedal to whom Rasmussen provided lessons on how to use EPO and cortisone in 2003.
Rasmussen also indicts Riis, who was his sports director at CSC in 2001 and 2002. The 1996 Tour de France winner knew everything about the doping of his riders, Rasmussen claims. The Danish rider echoes the allegations made by Tyler Hamilton is his 2012 book "The Secret Race” and by Jörg Jaksche.
In 2007 Riis confessed to doping, but he has always denied that he knew the riders in the teams he managed were using banned substances. To Saxo Bank’s CEO Lars Seier that’s enough to keep faith in the team manager.
“Sponsoring a cycling team is crucial to us,” Seier said. “Michael Rasmussen's testimony is untrustworthy. We have full confidence in Bjarne.”
The Danish bank just increased its sponsorship for the next season after Oleg Tinkov and his Tinkoff Credit Systems left after a disagreement on how to run the cycling team.
The Danish Anti-Doping Authority is currently investigation Bjarne Riis, among others. Their report is due at the end of this year. Michael Rasmussen confessed to doping between 1998 and 2010 and received a reduced ban of two years after cooperating with the authorities.