As Bjarne Riis autobiography hits store shelves in Denmark he weighs in on his doping past as well as the state of his relationships with Alberto Contador and Michael Rassmusen.
Speaking to Politiken in Europe Riis stated he still believes in Contadors innocence despite the positive test for Clenbuterol he returned during the 2010 Tour de France prior to signing with the Danes SaxoBank SunGard squad for 2011. He claims to see no other possible explanation for the finding other than the tainted meat defense Contador has claimed.
Riis also claims they speak weekly and Contadors spirits are high and he has resumed training.
The Danish leader of the Saxo Bank SunGard team also claims that he has no intention of signing fellow Dane Michael Rassmusen who has finished his two year ban for missing two out of competition doping test in 2007. He was subsequently removed from the Tour de France while in yellow by his Rabobank team. Despite reports to the contrary Riis claims no he has no interest in Rassmusen but hopes he gets the chance to race again.
Riis also spoke to the Danish papers Ekstra Bladet and Politiken about his own controversial past and the doping that propelled him to a Tour de France victory in 1996, dethroning 5 time champ, Miguel Indurain.
As riders, we didn’t think of it as doping. We didnt see it as forbidden, but simply as preparation. said Riis. He went on to claim he feels no guilt and that everbody felt the same way.
While everybody may have felt the same way Riis is still not out to name names. Claiming his book is not about gossip some readers may feel it is incomplete. He does claim both his ex wife, Matte Riis, and his current wife, Anne Dorthe Tanderup, knew of his extensive doping.
Anne Dorthe Tanderup, a former Dutch handball starsaid, It was obviously not the coolest. But I accepted it because it was part of his sport. It was a choice, he took before he met me. It was a part of him.