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Stage winner Nicki Sörensen (Team Saxo Bank) on the podium.
Danish team fighting to maintain WorldTour licence
Bjarne Riis and Team Saxo Bank are up before the UCI licencing commission Monday, leaving the team's riders a bit nervous about the future. The lack of team captain Alberto Contador puts the pressure on the other riders to help maintain the team's WorldTour status.
“I would be lying if I said that the meeting of the UCI licence commission is not something we talk about,” Nicki Sørensen told sporten.dk.
The commission is considering whether Saxo Bank should maintain its WorldTour status in light of the loss of Alberto Contador's points. The Spaniard contributed more than two-thirds of the team's points in 2011, points which he has now lost after having all his season results disqualified.
Sørensen admitted that he was shocked when Contador was given a two-year suspension for doping. “I had probably expected that the signals we got from similar cases with findings of clenbuterol by athletes would lead to an acquittal. For a team like ours, it is of course of tremendous importance to be without a rider like him.”
The pressure is now on the other riders to bring in results. Sørensen cited a recent training camp in Spain as “an investment in the coming months.”
The Dane continued, “Without Alberto on the team, there are many riders who must take a step up the ladder, but they are coming.”
Looking at his teammates, he named a few names. “A rider like Dani Navarro could do well. Nick Nuyens is apparently completely without stress and on the way to the form he had in Flanders last year, and I think that Chris Anker [Sørensen] could bring in some results over the season. We also have some relatively new names like our Polish riders Rafael Majka and Jaroslaw Marycz , as well as Jonas Aaen.”