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Saxo Bank team owner ranks captains Schleck, Contador, Basso and Hamilton
Andy Schleck may never win the Tour de France “because he is not serious enough,” according to his former boss Bjarne Riis. The head of Team Saxo Bank rated his captains over the year, ranking Ivan Basso second to Alberto Contador.
“Andy has what it takes,” Riis told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “But he also has the weakness that he lacks the last bit of will to go all the way. Maybe because it comes too easily to him.
“He may never reach his great goal of winning the Tour de France because he is not serious enough. But he is still young, and he becomes more mature with age. His problem is just that he races in the period when Alberto Contador also races - and he finds he can't beat Alberto.”
Riis rated Contador not only as his best captain ever, but also as one of the best riders ever. “Alberto is just the perfect match in all fields: he has talent, he has a unique physical presence on a bike, he has an unparalleled focus and a work ethic without equal. He also knows how to relax.
“I've never even seen a rider with a talent like Contador. Never! We must go back to Eddy Merckx probably, Bernard Hinault, perhaps, to find someone similar. Alberto can be quite scary.”
Basso was the rider “with the greatest potential”, second only to Contador, Riis said. “Ivan was an obvious talent, and his greatest talent was his seriousness.
“Before Alberto, I had never met anyone who was as structured, serious and professional as Ivan. He trained so much that it bordered on the extreme. Sometimes I tried to hold him back a little because it was too much.”
The fourth captain he rated was Tyler Hamilton, for whom he also had high praise. “I think in fact that Tyler Hamilton has been one of the greatest personalities of purely human terms.
“All the captains or the stars have been good to think of the other employees, both riders and other staff, but Tyler was damn good at it. He has a big heart. He is a good man.”