Bjarne Riis of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard has taken part of the credit for Nick Nuyens' win Sunday in the Tour of Flanders, explaining how he worked with the Belgian, particularly to motivate him. He admitted, though, that there was more to it, saying, “we've been a little lucky that it all just clicked.”
Nuyens, 30, transferred to the Danish team this season to lead the team in the Classics. Although a Classics specialist with several wins, he lacked a win in a Monument.
"He has been a strong rider for a long time but he has not gotten the most out of his potential," Riis told spn.dk. He has worked with Nuyens on his riding position, changed his training and worked to motivate him.
"I think all riders have their chance, wherever they ride. But they should certainly take it. There are some riders who are not ready to take the chance, but must be helped along. We have motivated him. Building a team around him and supported him."
Last year Riis had a winner in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, Fabian Cancellara, who now rides for the newly-formed Leopard Trek. He was not the only big name to leave the team at the end of the season, which required Riis to rebuild his team.
"I think the team has become more cohesive. Everyone shows a willingness and motivation, which is exceptional. It's cool. That's how you can sometimes do a little more."
Not that he expects to win Paris-Roubaix, though. "I think we have a good team, although we are not top favourites. We'll be ready. We would like to have two-three men with a lot in the race and maybe a rider in the top 10 or 15. That would be nice. "