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Jakob Piil was disappointed to find out just minutes after finishing Sunday's Danish road championship that he had not been selected for the Tour de France. CSC manager Bjarne Riis decided to pass over the Dane for the CSC Tour line-up in favour of Australian Luke Roberts, writes Susanne Horsdal.
"It was a very difficult decision to make, but Jakob hasn't at any point convinced me that he should be going. It was not nice to have to tell him, but it's my responsibility. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have to trust my intuition," explained Riis outside the CSC team bus after breaking the news to Piil.
After a hellish year, which began with a crash and a premature departure from last year's Tour de France, Piil has been plagued by injuries and illnesses. But he has kept fighting to win a Tour spot and had hoped that he could convince Riis during the Danish Championships. But, to add insult to injury, Piil crashed at a critical time in the race and never got the chance to prove his worth. "The crash very likely influenced his chances of showing himself," admitted Riis.
The decision to take Roberts, who'll be taking on his first Tour, instead of the experienced Piil, won't affect the team's tactics, however. "This year we'll be much more focused on Ivan Basso than we've been in the past," said Riis. Piil, whose contract runs out this year, is now likely to tackle the Vuelta instead.
The news came after CSC had dominated the Danish title race. By taking off from a four-man breakaway group with about 12 kilometres to go, CSC's Lars Bak was rewarded with the title in Odense. The 25 year old was followed home by team-mates Lars Michaelsen and Matti Breschel, with Gerolsteiner's Frank Hoj in fourth.
Bak formed part of an eight-man breakaway that went clear on only the second of 12 laps. Although several attempts were made by the peloton to bring them back, Bak was never caught, and took the biggest win of his three-year career. "I've felt I've been going really good since April, but I haven't really had the luck. Today I pulled a rabbit out of the hat and hopefully this will secure me a contract for next year," said Bak, who came from Bankgiroloterij to CSC this season.
- Two more teams have finalised their Tour selections. Following the Spanish championship race, Illes Balears decided that Jos Luis Arrieta, Isaac Galvez and German Daniel Becke would be joining Paco Mancebo, Alejandro Valverde, Vladimir Karpets, Chente Garcia Acosta, David Arroyo and Xabier Zandio.
Rabobank, meanwhile, have added veteran Marc Wauters to their line-up after Oscar Freire was forced out with injury. The Belgian joins Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, Karsten Kroon, Gerben Lwik, Joost Posthuma, Pieter Weening, Denis Menchov and Michael Rasmussen.
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