The top Danish cycling team missed out on winning a Tour de France stage this year, but the race was still a success, says owner Bjarne Riis.
The three week race got under way in spectular fashion for Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank as Michael Mørkøv rode in breakaways on an unprecedented three consecutive days. However, it was Chris Anker Sørensen’s spirited third place in the quest for the polka-dotted mountain jersey and recognition as the aggressive rider of the Tour that helped endorse a team that was predicted to perform poorly in this year’s Tour.
And Sørensen, who it was announced will not need an operation to mend the fingers he nearly severed when they got caught in his cycle wheel, believes that the team’s chances for success in the upcoming Vuelta a España are even greater with Alberto Contador’s return from a drug suspension.
“Now I’ve been to the doctor and it’s great that I don’t need an operation, because then I would have missed the Vuelta,” Sørensen told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “I just need to wait and if my hand heals quickly then I have time to train and be ready to ride for Contador. I want to ride because I think we have a good chance to win.”
The Olympic Games in London, which Sørensen will struggle to make, is sandwiched in between the Tour and the Vuelta, and that gives the Danish team ample time to upgrade their squad for next season.
And they need success sooner rather than later, because they’re ranked 18 and last in the World Tour Rankings with only 88 points, barely half of the 173 points that Team FDJ have in 17 place.
The Vuelta a España starts on August 18 and runs through to September 9.