In a new autobiography, Bjarne Riis details the delicate situation during the 2010 Tour de France in which he was directing one of the race's main contenders while simultaneously signing the other for the coming year.
In the book, simply called Riis, which was published by People's Press today, Riis revealed that he was the one who advised Alberto Contador to apologize to Saxo Bank team leader Andy Schleck after the infamous 'chaingate' incident on stage 15 to Bagneres-de-Luchon.
Riis had already put together a draft contract to sign the Spaniard when the incident occurred. On that stage, Schleck dropped his chain at a critical part on the climb of the Port de Bales, and was attacked by Contador, who rode into the maillot jaune and gained enough time on the stage to win the Tour de France.
That night, Riis received a text message on his phone from Contador, who seemed worried that the controversial attack might hurt negotiations. "I'm sorry about the situation. I attacked and went. Hope you understand," the text read as reported by sporten.dk.
Riis replied to Contador, saying that he made a mistake, and in a phone call advised him to apologize, which Contador did.
By the time the second rest day came around two days later, the contract with Contador had been finalized, and Riis told Contador that he felt that he could win all three Grand Tours in the same year.
Schleck would announce later that he decided to leave Riis to join the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project with former Saxo Bank public relations manager Bryan Nygaard, taking with him many of the riders from the Saxo Bank team.
Contador is contracted with the Saxo Bank-SunGard team, but is facing disciplinary hearings for a positive doping test for Clenbuterol and a possible two-year suspension. Riis has stated that he believes Contador is innocent.
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