Bjarne Riis has unveiled the new Saxo Bak-SunGard jersey insisting that he is looking forward to the coming season despite the doubts about the long term future of his team and the risk that team leader Alberto Contador could be suspended after his positive test for Clenbuterol.
The new Saxo Bank jersey is very similar to the 2010 kit, with light blue replacing the white background. The square Saxo Bank logo dominates the front of the jersey with SunGard name prominent underneath and on the shoulders and side panels. Riis was known as the 'Eagle from Herning' during his career and an eagle is now part of the design around the lower part of the jersey.
Riis admits the jersey design reflects the major changes at the team after the departure of many of his key riders.
"We have tried to make both the new and the old a part of our look in 2011. We felt a need to renew our design, so the basic color of our jersey is now light blue, and as you can see, the eagle is back after a couple years hiatus," Riis said in an upbeat message on his team's website.
"I really think we have created a cool jersey, and I can't wait to see it on my riders in the first races of the season. Both the light blue background and the eagle are also reflected on our cars, trucks and buses as they form the leitmotif of our entire design."
"A new year has just started, and I would like to use this occasion to express how much I look forward to this coming season. I'm more motivated than ever before."
"In many ways, I'm now the leader of a new team after a turbulent year, that measured on the sporting outcome was so successful, that we once again finished as the world's best team. But 2010 was also a season characterized by the fact, that a number of our riders and staff wanted new challenges elsewhere. Therefore, we have welcomed many new faces in our organization. But at the same time, the philosophy of the team and our values remains the same."
Riis claimed that all the new arrivals at the team have settled in well thanks to the excellent atmosphere at the first get together in Fuerteventura in December. He went as far as suggesting that couldn't remember the team so well prepared for a new season.
"On the whole, I strongly believe in our new beginning," he said.
"It's been a pleasure to meet the new riders at our first team camp on Fuerteventura, and it really made me proud to see how the "old" riders worked hard to help welcome the new riders. I think we have already created a strong team spirit, and I'm sure that this work makes a difference for us during races. I'm also deeply impressed with my entire staff - from sports directors to mechanics and soigneurs. I honestly don't remember, that we have been better prepared for a new season than now."
"Finally, I wish the ones who left the team in 2010, all the best. And I would like to send a special thanks to our sponsors and fans. Your support for both the riders and me simply can't be underestimated. In return I hope and believe we can repay your support with many sporting highlights in 2011. Happy New Year to you all."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.