Anders Lund may have to leave Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank after only one year, a victim of the UCI points system.The domestique has not brought in any of the points needed to help the team retain its WorldTour licences, and he worries that it might spell the end of his time with the team.
After having ridden the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, Lund felt confident with the team, although he had only a one-year contract.
But now he is uncertain. “There's nothing new about a contract yet. I have not renewed yet, unfortunately. But I hope soon to get a clarification. I am quite confident about that coming soon. I really hope so. But I also read mathematics out of the points stuff. There's some riders that he (Riis, ed.) wants, and they have shown more than I have,” he told ekstrabladet.dk.
A rider takes his points with him to a new team, where they are used toward the team's WorldTour licence. The system is seen to discriminate against domestiques, who rarely win and therefore cannot garner the points the team needs, although their work is also necessary.
Riis' team was dealt a major blow, points-wise, when Alberto Contador was given a doping-related suspension, as he was their major points winner. Although the Spaniard has now returned to racing, any points he wins over the next two years will not count for the team, under UCI rules. Riis has indicated he will challenge this ruling in court.
The team is consistently at the bottom of the points-ranking list, and Riis is feeling the pressure to hire riders with points.
“It is clear that the points are the sticking point,” Lund said.”Otherwise I feel that I fit well into the team. I feel good here. And I also think that Bjarne likes that I'm riding for his team.But he will also need to ensure that he can continue at the highest level, but I think, too, that he can do that with me on the team.”
Riis not announcing new signings
One way Riis is dealing with the points system is to not announce his new signings. There are several cases where teams have announced that riders who are leaving will not be allowed to ride in major WorldTour races the remainder of the system, so as not to accumulate points which would go to the new team.
“I think that the system fails. When you have to tell riders that they can not ride the race because they change teams and take the points with them, then there is something wrong with the system,” Riis told sporten.dk.
Currently Contador has the most points of anyone on the team, having won 60 points at the Eneco Tour. However, these points will not be applied to the team. He is followed by Matteo Tosatto and Chris Anker Sorensen, with 30 points each.
The Saxo Bank boss has a simple suggestion for fixing the problem. “It would be fairly simple, if 50 per cent of the riders' points going to the team, and 50 percent goes to the rider.”
He knows, however, that this is unlikely to happen. “I don't think UCI knows how to solve the problem. We have asked to have it amended several times but nothing happens.”