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"I enjoyed the respect of the riders and the other employees. Respect is something you have to deserve. It's something you build up over years. It is not something you buy."

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo




07.11.2016 @ 12:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Last week Bjarne Riis announced his return to cycling. For many years, the name of the former Danish rider was associated with the current Tinkoff team before he was forced to leave his position as manager in 2015 after a fallout with Oleg Tinkov to whom he had sold the squad.


With the demise of the Russian team, Riis has finally spoken out about his controversial goodbye to the team that he built into one of the strongest in the world.


"It's a long time since I've had something to say when it comes to the team, but it is said to note that it is now just gone. The sad part is that everything I built up over a period of 15 years was broken down in such a short time," Riis told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.


"Many times I have asked myself about what happened. I have no answer, and it no longer means anything to me. I have long since moved on.


"It has been a very big part of my and my family's life. It was my training as a leader and businessman, so it does of course hurt to see it disintegrate. I really hadn't imagined that Oleg would buy the team to close it. It certainly was not my intention when I sold the team that it should be shut down. On the contrary.


"I've been chasing all these years to create the optimum team. It was my desire to run a team of Sky's level, where I could have optimized everything down to the smallest detail but I just never had the funding.


"I was of course disappointed to read and hear what Oleg has said and wrote about me. I would have preferred that he'd shown a little more class, but he must do what he wants. We had a clear agreement that we should not comment on the break and another, and it's a deal, I intend to keep.


"He has broken the deal and so I could certainly do it too but I have neither the desire or need to. I want to show a little more style than what he has shown.”


However, Riis still revealed his personal perception of why he had to leave the team.


"I think it was envy," he said. "I enjoyed the respect of the riders and the other employees. Respect is something you have to deserve. It's something you build up over years. It is not something you buy.


"I still absolutely do not understand why it went so wrong. I come from a world where people talk about things if there's a problem arise but it was impossible. Eventually I had enough and I asked for our agreement to be ended. I was not fired, although the journalists like to write it.


"Oleg's biggest mistake was to remove the philosophy I'd instilled in the team and do away with the way I ran the team. I don't think he'd thought through what it meant to change the team that way. Without me was the team's just a team like any other." 



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