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"It wasn't an easy decision because I made this team, it's my baby. But after all that has happened, it's important what I feel. At the end of the day I need to feel good about things. From the day I took the decision to se...

15.01.2014 @ 17:18 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Since Bjarne Riis sold his team to Oleg Tinkov for a reported €6 million, he has admitted that he is feeling much happier after having suffered depression in 2013. 


"I'm very happy about having sold the team to Oleg. The more time that goes by, the happier I become and the more I realise it was the right decision," Riis told Cyclingnews at Tinkoff-Saxo’s training camp in Gran Canaria where they showed off their new kits to the worlds media.


"It wasn't an easy decision because I made this team, it's my baby. But after all that has happened, it's important what I feel. At the end of the day I need to feel good about things. From the day I took the decision with my wife to sell the team, I felt a lot better. It was a long process and we talked a lot. She could see that I needed to do it, she could she it was the best thing for me."


He said that Tinkov was very professional and serious throughout the whole process and treated Riis with the utmost respect.


However, Riis could be forced out of cycling if he is proven guilty by Anti-Doping Denmark, who have launched an inquiry into Riss thanks to his former rider Michael Rasmussen’s evidence against his old boss.


"It's not something I'm thinking about. Of course they write about it all the time in the Danish media but I'm not obsessed about it," Riis said, indicating he believes he will be allowed to stay in the sport.


As for the season ahead, Tnkoff-Saxo has a very strong squad who has the capacity to win a lot of races next year. The big names of Contador, Kreuziger, Roche and Majka all remain, although, for the moment, there is no Michael Rogers due to an ongoing doping investigation.


Riis is confident that Contador will put a disappointing 2013 behind him and achieve success at the Tour de France: 

“I like what I see. I can see that he's very concentrated and focused, that he's working hard and doing the right things. We've improved some things and we have a good set up around him," 


“It's very important that he wants to be back and he has a chance to get back to his best. Time will time. But I'm confident. If he's as strong as I think he will be, he's one of a few riders who has a great chance to take on Chris Froome, who is now the rider to beat.”

“We're working on being strong. Let’s hope it works. I think it'd be good for the sport if Alberto gets back to a good level.”


Riss expects both Roche and Majka to how signs of their continual improvement in last years Vuelta at this years Giro: “I'd like make the team stronger but that will happen in the coming years,” he said. “I still think we still have one of the strongest teams in the peloton: we will be good in the spring, we will have a good team in the Giro with Rafal Majka and Nico Roche. We'll be strong for the Tour, obviously, and for the Vuelta.

“Hopefully we win a little bit more than last year and then build it up the year after that. It's important to win. We need to win and be strong. I'm convinced the mentality of the team will remain even if I'm no longer the team owner.”


However, without a doubt, the season will be judged as a success or failure depending on what Contador can do in the Tour.




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