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by Dane Cash
January 9, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Bjarne Riis is back to managing a WorldTour team.
The former pro and former manager of the team variously known as CSC and Saxo Bank is taking on the role of team manager with NTT Pro Cycling, the 2020 iteration of the squad formerly known as Dimension Data. The Virtu Cycling Group that Riis co-owns has invested in one third of the shares behind the company operating the team.
NTT announced the news on Wednesday, confirming reports in Danish outlet B.T. that emerged on Tuesday.
Riis, 55, retired from racing in 1999 after compiling some big results, but in 2007 he admitted to having doped during his career, including during the 1996 Tour de France where he finished atop the final podium.
After hanging up the wheels, the Dane began a lengthy stint at the helm of the CSC team and its various later iterations. He continued to manage the squad after selling ownership of the team to Oleg Tinkov at the end of 2013, but Riis was released a little over a year later.
Since then, the Virtu Cycling Group that Riis co-owns with Lars Seier Christensen and Jan Bech Andersen has operated a women’s team. Team Virtu Cycling Women closed its doors at the end of 2019, however, after being unable to find a sponsor despite a successful season included a Tour of Flanders win for Marta Bastianelli. Virtu also runs men’s Continental squad Team Waoo.
As Seier noted in a Facebook post on January 1, having a team “at the highest level when the Tour starts in Copenhagen in 2021” was a major objective.
In a press release announcing the news, both Riis and Doug Ryder, the founder and team principal of the NTT squad, expressed high hopes for improving the team, which has often finished in the lower echelons of the team rankings.
“Danish cycling is in a very strong place and this partnership, together with the foundation that we already have in place, I believe will help develop the team to become one of the best in the world in the years to come,” Ryder said. “That is our ambition.”