October 9, 2011 / 3:05 PM / in 6 years

Riis not fazed by RadioShack/Leopard merger

BEIJING (Reuters) - Alberto Contador will be enough of a weapon against the might of the new RadioShack-Nissan cycling team next year, the Spaniard’s Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis said on Sunday.

American Johan Bruyneel, who guided Lance Armstrong to his record seven Tour de France titles, will be at the helm of RadioShack-Nissan, the result of the merger between RadioShack and Leopard-Trek.

Twice Tour runner-up Andy Schleck is set to be the leader of an outfit also likely to feature Andreas Kloeden and time-trial and one-day race specialist Fabian Cancellara.

“Maybe Johan Bruyneel will be leading the best team in the world -- and that’s not even sure,” Dane Riis told Reuters at the Tour of Beijing, which ended on Sunday.

“With Contador, I will always have the best rider in the world and that’s a fact.”

Contador, however, is awaiting a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling next month over a failed dope test in the 2010 Tour de France.

The Spaniard, one of only five men with wins in all three grands Tours (Giro, Tour, Vuelta), could face a two-year ban if the CAS, following an appeal by the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), overturn the Spanish federation’s decision to clear Contador.

Contador, who suffered his first defeat in a grand Tour since 2007 in this year’s Tour de France, would, at least, be stripped of his 2010 Tour title if found guilty.

“I can’t wait for this to be over,” Riis said. “I am optimistic although there is still the fear that CAS could rule against him. I am waiting but it is long, too long. It’s been dragging on for over a year.”

Contador denied any wrongdoing, saying his failed test came because he ate contaminated meat.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below