Riis not present at Tour presentation

By Katharina Schulz

As the route for next year's Tour de France was presented yesterday in Paris, it was Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen who was there to represent Team CSC, and not the team's owner and boss Bjarne Riis. After his doping confession in May, the Dane had fallen out of favour with the Tour's organisation and his name was struck from the result list of the 1996 Tour de France, which he had won.

The relationship seems to be on the road to recovery, however, "There were no statements from the organisation saying that now they'd be happy to see Bjarne again. But of course they are softening up in comparison to the attitude they showed this summer," Andersen told the Danish newspaper B.T.

Reason for this is most probably the fact that Team CSC has one of the strictest anti-doping programmes in cycling today, which is the best precondition for getting an invitation to the world's most important cycling race. "There were no names mentioned as to which teams or riders were unwelcome, but there are clear signs that you should have the right ethics if you want to start in the Tour," Andersen continued.

Should he be welcome, Riis might well be the only Dane at the Tour, along with Kim Andersen. The country's hottest contender for the Tour, Michael Rasmussen, is currently caught in limbo, and it is unclear if he will ever be seen at the Tour again. The gap could however be filled by CSC themselves.

"I can easily see several of our Danish riders take part in the Tour, even if it is very early to make any statements. If I should point out someone, I would say that Nicki Sørensen is always a good choice, Lars Bak could be another, and maybe Matti Breschel is a possibility, if he keeps on developing as well as he has so far," he told Berlingske Tidende.

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