Bjarne Riis is back in the spotlight. The controversial Danish tour winner from 1996 – and later a permanent doping offender – joins the South African World Tour Team NTT with a business partner and takes over a third of the shares in the team through Virtu Cycling, which will be known as Dimension Data until the end of 2019 wore.
The 55-year-old had last worked in the then Tinkoff-Saxo team in the highest category of professional cycling and had worked with low-class Danish teams since then. As a team manager, Riis will have sporting responsibility in the team of the German sprinter Max Walscheid, a big incentive for him is the start of the 2021 tour in Denmark, according to Riis.
“Over time, we will have the opportunity to build one of the best cycling teams in the world, but it takes patience,” said Riis in Copenhagen. Douglas Ryder, founder of the racing team, did not refer to Riis’ past in a press release, but emphasized his skills and experience.
Riis, once a teammate of Jan Ullrich and sometimes nicknamed “Monsieur 60 percent” because of his sometimes extremely high hematocrit value, had built up the CSC team (later Saxo Bank) since 2001, for which Jens Voigt, among others, drove after his professional career. In 2007 Riis made a comprehensive admission to doping, but it is not only his work as an active person that is in the twilight.
In 2015, the Danish anti-doping agency ADD and Denmark’s sports association DIF came to the conclusion that Riis knew about doping offenses in his team CSC, tacitly tolerated and partially ordered them. “I deeply regret it. I failed as a leader,” Riis said at the time.