Shorts: Riis, Valverde, Pevenage

Riis takes a day out of the Tour for a bit of footie, Valverde back in training after collar-bone op

Riis takes a day out of the Tour for a bit of footie, Valverde back in training after collar-bone op


CSC team manager Bjarne Riis left the Tour de France on Sunday. Not because of the problems facing the team on several levels, but simply to watch the World Cup final in Berlin. Several months ago Riis gave one of his sons a ticket for the final as a present. Included in that present was a day with dad. Riis will be returning to his troops on Monday.

Riis also hit back at those who have been sniping at him since team leader Ivan Basso's ejection from the Tour last week. Speaking to Le Journal du Dimanche, Riis said: "People who accuse me of doping riders should understand what I'm trying to do, how much time I devote to my team. They don't know to what point I focus on my riders' training, how I analyse a rider to find their best position on the bike, how many hours I spend motivating them. It's very easy to say 'Bjarne dopes his riders'. Some French team managers will never believe me, I know that. I should give seminars to my colleagues. I could teach them a lot about training methods."

- Alejandro Valverde has started training again on his home trainer after the operation to set his broken collar-bone he underwent last week. Valverde spent 10 minutes on the trainer on Saturday, and half an hour on it on Sunday, and hopes to be back on the road training in 10 days. His aim is to get into as good shape as possible for September's Vuelta a Espa¤a. "I am feeling OK," said Valverde, "even if I really suffer when I watch the Tour on TV. In fact that hurts me much than my shoulder does!"

- Rudy Pevenage's implication in the Operacion Puerto investigation has led to him being released from his contract by T-Mobile. "The contract linking T-Mobile to Pevenage concluded on June 30," T-Mobile team boss Olaf Ludwig told German news agency SID. Ludwig admitted he thought the evidence of Pevenage being linked with the Puerto investigation was "quite clear". Ludwig added: "Rudy had contact with Fuentes and this is something we can't pass over."

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