Riis absents himself from Tour

CSC boss fears "negative effect" of his presence

Disgraced 1996 Tour de France winner and sporting director for Team CSC Bjarne Riis announced on Thursday he will not be present to follow his riders during this year's Tour.

In May the 43-year-old Dane admitted to doping during his career, notably during his 1996 Tour de France victory. He was subsequently stripped of the title last month by Tour officials.
Riis took the decision to sit out the Tour following criticism by former German CSC rider Jorg Jaksche during an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel,
Jaksche told Der Spiegel he used performance enhancing drugs during his spell with the CSC team in 2004 and that the Danish sporting director knew all about it.
However Riis, a former Telekom/T-Mobile rider denied this had anything to do with his decision.
"It was a very difficult decision, but it is one hundred per cent mine, and was not taken due to any kind of outside pressures.
"It was not due to the accusations [by Jaksche], but it was just a simple case of not having the strength to help my riders throughout the duration of the Tour de France."
The Tour gets underway on Saturday in London.

© AFP 2007


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