Breschel returns to Saxo Bank after tough Rabobank run

Danish classics man returns to Riis' side

VALKENBURG, Netherlands (AFP) — Matti Breschel is set to return to Bjarne Riis’ side for two years at Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank. The Danish classics rider saw two disappointing and injury-plagued years at Rabobank since leaving Saxo Bank in 2011.

Breschel, 28, began his career in 2005 with CSC, the predecessor to Saxo Bank. A silver medalist at the world championships in 2010 the Breschel won a stage this year at the Vuelta a Burgos.

“At the end of the day, the choice wasn’t that difficult, even though I have enjoyed being part of Rabobank. Personally I have great ambitions, and I’m convinced Bjarne and the team are the right ones to help me move on,” Breschel said in a team release. “Over the last two years I have always kept in contact with Bjarne, and now, when I had the opportunity to come back, I wouldn’t miss it. After all, this team is where I feel at home. I’m super happy to be able to return to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, and I’m very much looking forward to the coming season.”

Breschel departed Riis’ team in 2011, following a season that saw him establish himself fully as a threat for the classics. With Fabian Cancellara thought to be locked in as Saxo Bank’s classics captain, Breschel moved to Rabobank. Cancellara left the team as well, for Leopard-Trek, and Breschel never hit full stride with the Dutch squad.

The Dane did register 10th at the Ronde van Vlaanderen in April, and rode to third at Ghent-Wevelgem, but was unable to make the final selection in Flanders with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing) and Filippo Pozzato (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia). Riis said he hoped to see Breschel back to the podium in the big classics.

“Ever since Matti left the team a couple of years ago, I have always hoped for him to come back to the team for obvious reasons. I know Matti very well, both as an athlete and as a person, and I know what he is capable of on the bike,” said Riis. “In peak form I have no doubts that he has the potential of winning a spring classic or the worlds one day, and together we will pursue this goal. It will take a whole lot of hard work and commitment, but Matti is eager to start over again after some years marked by injuries. I can only say I’m looking forward to start working with him again.”