The riddle of Team CSC’s budget shortfall has taken another twist with reports that Berry Floor coul
Further to yesterday’s report on Team CSC’s search for a co-sponsor, rumours that Bjarne Riis is courting Belgian firm Berry Floor have met with a mixed reaction. Speculation linking CSC with Berry Floor, the current co-sponsor of Lance Armstrong’s US Postal team, has been rife for several months. Now, reports in Italy suggest that an agreement between team manager Riis and representatives of the Belgian company could be imminent. Contacted by procycling this morning, CSC press chief Brian Nygaard declined to comment: “We won’t name any names,” Nygaard stressed. “All I can say is that we hope to have good news in the coming weeks.” If this doesn’t put an end to the guesswork, then widespread scepticism about the CSC-Berry Floor link among Belgian sources just might. According to them, the current US Postal co-backer is only interested in following Armstrong to new sponsor Discovery Channel. Berry Floor’s proposed investment of around two million euros per season may also be too meagre for Riis’s needs. With eleven riders out of contract at the end of the season, time is certainly of the essence for the Danes. The riders whose commitment to CSC expires at the end of the 2004 season are the following: Bobby Julich, Fran Hoj, Nicki Sorensen, Michael Blaudzun, Thomas B. Eriksen, Lars Michaelsen, Peter Luttenberger, Tristian Hoffman, Manuel Calvente, Fabrizio Guidi and Frank Schleck. Julich, now 32, is thought to be on the shopping list of Davitamon-Lotto. Three current CSC riders – Jimmi Madsen, Michael Sandstod, Bekim Christensen – are predicted to retire at the end of the season.