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Fuglsang interested in Riis reunion for 2021

LUXEMBOURG LUXEMBOURG MAY 09 Pro cyclist Jacob Fuglsang of Denmark and Team Astana trains in isolation during Covid19 lockdown on May 09 2020 in Luxembourg Luxembourg Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Fuglsang training in Luxembourg during the COVID-19 lockdown (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Jakob Fuglsang has admitted that a reunion with Bjarne Riis would be tempting, should the NTT Pro Cycling team manager find a Danish sponsor for the team. The Danish rider, who has raced for Astana since 2013, said that he would be interested in the move given the 2021 Tour de France starts in Denmark.

Fuglsang told Danish broadcaster TV2 that his dream is to race for a Danish team next year, though his Astana contract runs through next season, complicating any possible transfer.

"I don't know what will happen at NTT," Fuglsang said. "It has all been put on hold in terms of rider negotiations, and I still have a year left on my contract at Astana, so something strange would have to happen.

"But if Bjarne were to succeed, and especially get a Danish sponsor, then it would be great to start a Tour in Denmark on a team as Danish as possible."

Riis, who won the Tour in 1996, managed the CSC/Saxo Bank/Tinkoff team from 1999 to 2015, with Fuglsang racing under him in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Fuglsang won the Tour of Denmark in both years and made his Tour debut in 2010, finishing 50th.

The 35-year-old is currently enjoying the most successful years of his career at Astana, with highlights including wins at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Critérium du Dauphiné and a stage at the Vuelta a España last year.

Riis, meanwhile, returned to WorldTour cycling this year, taking over as team manager at NTT. He is also set to take part-ownership at the team through his partnership group Virtu Cycling, though the deal was still to be confirmed in early June.

The team currently has a strong Danish presence, with Lars Michaelsen and Lars Bak on board as directeurs sportifs and Michael Valgren, Andreas Stokbro and Michael Carbel on the roster.

"Last year, before I extended my contract, I talked to Bjarne," Fuglsang said. "Among other things, with the intention of being able to start the Tour on a Danish team, as it could now be. It didn't succeed, so I don't know if I'm going to end my career on a Kazakh team, or what it's going to look like.

"I think we'll need to talk to [Astana general manager] Alexander Vinokourov if my contract is to be terminated. Though all of this is without anything being in place."

Fuglsang, who won the Vuelta a Andalucía for the second year in a row to kick off his season, is set to return to racing at Strade Bianche on August 1. He'll ride a largely Italian programme through the autumn – with the Tour de Pologne also on the menu – before targeting the Giro d'Italia in October.

Cyclingnews has contacted Astana for comment.