When leaders become helpers: Teamwork at CSC

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The Danish formation of "General" Bjarne Riis is on a roll. With a more quiet start to the season than in previous years, Riis and his troops have shown that it was worth the wait.

The demonstration of team play which the CSC riders gave during the Flèche Wallonne yesterday was meaningful: One of the biggest favourites for the overall win in both Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, Ivan Basso, worked hard to bring his team captain for the day, Karsten Kroon, in the best possible position. Kroon transferred from the Dutch Rabobank team end of last season in order to have more chances of going for top results instead of working full time for Rabo team leaders Boogerd and Dekker. The Dutchman couldn't quite believe it himself that he had some of the biggest names of today's cycling working for him.

"I'm very satisfied with the race and it's a big deal to end up on the podium in a classic like Flèche Wallonne," Kroon said. "It was such a luxury to have a world-class team behind me, and when riders like Sastre, Basso and Voigt sacrifice themselves to help me, it's nice to get the job done in the end. On the wall in Huy there wasn't time to ponder on tactics, it was about giving your all - which I did. Valverde was clearly the strongest rider today, but I did well in the finish even though it wasn't my favourite."

Because of the fine result in Flèche and his two classics victories already this season, Bjarne Riis is logically looking forward to the next ProTour event on Sunday, 'La Doyenne' Liège-Bastogne-Liège. "We did really well in this race, and it was a pleasure to see Karsten on the podium after he has consistently delivered good results for a long time now," said the Danish team director. "He truly deserves a result at this level. We chose the right tactics for this race and managed to take advantage of the fact that we had a strong and top motivated team. Everyone did a great job out there and it was impressive to see Ivan sacrifice himself for his teammates. Our efforts today do justify a certain amount of optimism ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

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