PARIS (AFP) — The Tinkoff-Saxo team of two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has added Dutchman Steven de Jongh to its management team after the sacking of manager Bjarne Riis.
The team owned by Russian millionaire Oleg Tinkov officially fired Riis last weekend.
De Jongh was named as head of the group of sport directors, charged with the strategic, long-term planning of the team and its race program.
Riis’ workload will be shared between de Jongh and general manager Stefano Feltrin, who “will assume a more active role in the team’s sports operations,” the team said in a statement.
“We will not rush and turn everything upside down right now. That would not be wise at this stage,” added de Jongh.
“We will stick to the program we have and thoroughly assess our strengths and weaknesses. We will keep what works and try to improve what doesn’t.
“Our big goals for this season are the Giro-Tour double for Alberto Contador and the classics for Peter Sagan. Alberto’s preparation for this demanding goal is going exactly as planned. I have been in charge of Alberto for the last year and I will continue to do so this season as well.”
Riis won the 1996 Tour de France as a rider but would later admit to having doped during his career, including the year he won the Grande Boucle.
He created a team in the early 2000s and took on the role of sport director, eventually selling the squad to Tinkov in December 2013.
He built a formidable squad and made the marquee signing of Contador in 2011 before adding Sagan for this season.