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Bjarne Riis leaves pro cycling... again

Dane to step down from role at NTT Pro cycling by mutual consent

Joe Robinson
11 Nov 2020

Bjarne Riis has left his role at NTT Pro Cycling as the African WorldTour team's struggle to secure their future continues.

The team confirmed that Riis would step down from his role as team manager by mutual consent at the end of 2020.

In a short statement, Team NTT boss Doug Ryder confirmed Riis's departure stating, 'I’d like to thank Bjarne for the experience and leadership that he has brought to our environment, and the contribution he has made. We’d like to wish him all the very best for the future.'

Riis came on board with the Team NTT at the beginning of 2020 with the remit of looking at the team's performance and racing programme, having been away from WorldTour cycling since leaving the Tinkoff-Saxo team in 2015.

At the time, his re-appearance at the business end of the sport was criticised by some, who felt uncomfortable with the Dane managing a team having admitted to doping during his racing career, notably when he won the Tour de France in 1996. Riis was even rumoured to be buying a 30% stake in the team but the plans fell through and he subsequently left his role.

'To be a part of NTT Pro Cycling during a unique year for all of us has been a great experience,' Riis said on his departure. 'I have a lot of respect for the team that Doug has built and want to thank him for the opportunity. I wish him all the best for the future.'

Before his departure, Riis told Danish media that he was unaware of a new sponsor for NTT Pro Cycling having been lined up with the Japanese communications company ending its association at the end of 2020.

The team was absent from the UCI's announcement of teams registering for WorldTour and ProTeam licences in 2021 last week. However, there is still time for the team to register, albeit for a late admission fee, and manager Ryder is hopeful a solution can still be found.

Some riders on the team have found rides elsewhere in 2021 including Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ben O'Connor. Eight riders, however, including Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts, are still under contract for next year amd so could be left in limbo should new investment fail to materialise.

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