Bjarne Riis has said he plans to spend time with his family after parting ways with the Tinkoff-Saxo team, saying he will take time “to think through and explore what I want to achieve in life professionally going forward.”
Perhaps as part of his settlement with the Tinkoff-Saxo team, and team management company Tinkoff Sport, Riis said he will refrain from giving interviews but tried to encourage his former riders in a brief message issued via his son’s Twitter account.
“Keep working hard and I’m certain you will achieve the results, you aim for. I wish you all the best of luck,” the message reads.
Riis was placed on non-active status before Milan-San Remo after falling out with team owner Oleg Tinkov. The team insisted that the decision was not due to a lack of results – Tinkoff-Saxo has only won two races so far this season - or due to financial problems. It seems that the difference in character between Riis and Tinkov made it impossible for the two to get on. CEO of long-time sponsor Saxo Bank, Lars Seier Christensen, apparently tried to broker a peace deal between the two by traveling to Switzerland but he told Danish media that neither Riis nor Tinkov seemed keen to make up and work together.
Riis sold the team to Tinkov for a reported six million euros in the winter of 2013 and was reportedly being paid a million euros a season for his role as team manager. The Russian team has still to reveal who will replace Riis as team manager and senior directeur sportif at the team.
Bjarne Riis’ message in full:
Yesterday (Monday), the management of Tinkoff Sport and I reached a mutual agreement to terminate our working relationship, effectively ending my time as a team manger of Tinkoff-Saxo, a team that I have been a part of and formerly owned for more than a decade. Because of this agreement various medias are now enquiring interviews with me, which I both understand and respect. But we, the team management of Tinkoff Sport and I, have agreed to refrain from making any further comments on the subject.
My many years with the team have been an extraordinary journey in many ways. And I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thank everybody who contributed to making it an unforgettable one -from riders and staff to sponsors and fans. A special thank you to the riders and staff of Tinkoff-Saxo. Keep working hard and I’m certain you will achieve the results you aim for. I wish you all the best of luck.
Finally, in the foreseeable future, I will dedicate my time to my family. To my friends and to thinking through and explore what I want to achieve in life professionally going forward. During this period of time, I will not make myself available for medias.