Shorts: Riis, Ullrich, Lance

Bjarne Riis is contacted by a prospective Scandinavian sponsor, Ullrich and Sevilla facing sack from

Bjarne Riis is contacted by a prospective Scandinavian sponsor, Ullrich and Sevilla facing sack from


According to reports in Norwegian and Danish media, Bjarne Riis has received an offer from Norway from sponsors apparently willing to step into professional cycling on a large scale, writes Susanne Horsdal. Whether the idea is to create a Norwegian/Nordic team or they want to buy into CSC is not yet clear, but CSC team manager Riis confirms that Norwegian sponsors have shown interest.

Last Monday, on the Tour's first rest day, Riis was supposed to have met with representatives for the sponsors but that never came about because Riis ran into flight problems when returning from the World Cup final in Berlin. Over the past few years, Norwegian television has stepped up its coverage of cycling considerably, and this is believed to be one of the reasons for the sponsor's growing interest.

- Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla are in danger of being sacked by T-Mobile after missing the July 13 deadline set by their team to explain their involvement in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation. Both protested their innocence when they were dropped from T-Mobile's team the day before the Tour's start in Strasbourg. "Both riders assured us they wanted to prove their innocence when they left Strasbourg on June 30. Now it's in the hands of the attorneys to consider what steps to take next. This is a very difficult situation. I fully expect the situation to be resolved within 10 to 14 days," said T-Mobile spokesman Christian Frommert.

- Comments about the French football team made by Lance Armstrong when he hosted last week's ESPY awards in Los Angeles have caused a stir in France. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Armstrong, who made a number of humorous comments during his stint as host - some of them at his own expense - joked that the French players "have all tested positive. for being arseholes". Armstrong is expected to visit his former Discovery Channel team-mates on the Tour's rest day in Gap tomorrow.

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